End of the line for much-loved Huntingdon cafe as owners prepare to retire
- Credit: Archant
A family-run café which has fuelled commuters at Huntingdon train station for four decades will close its doors for the final time later this month.
Annette Ellul opened the Station Buffet with husband, Michell, 40 years ago but, after serving up countless teas and bacon rolls over the years, the family are set to retire on August 10.
The idea to take over the business came from Michell, who was working as a chef on the railways and was a regular customer.
“My husband was coming here in the mornings to get his paper and his coffee as he was getting the four o’clock train. He got to know the owner and said to him ‘when you think about getting rid of this please let me know’,” said Annette.
The family didn’t hear anything for a number of years before they received a call from the café’s former owner, and decided to uproot from London to run the buffet.
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“We knew the customers, we would have their coffee and their paper ready as soon as they walked in,” Annette said.
The grandmother-of-six recalls the times that she used to run down the platform with a coffee and bacon sandwich to give to late-comers.
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“Quite a few times some of them would come last minute and I would go quickly behind them and pass it through the windows on the old-fashioned trains,” she said.
But what she says she will miss most is the time that she spent working with her husband before his death in 2004.
“My husband and I worked together for a number of years and we only used to close two days a year for Christmas – no holidays, nothing,” Annette, 73, added.
“I’ve got a lot of good memories, we had been working together for so many years but I will take those memories from here.”
After her husband’s death, Annette passed the business onto her son, Tony, 56, with help from her other son Marcell, 42, but the family say the industry has changed with prices becoming more expensive, which has made running the business challenging.
Following news of the closure, many of the family’s regular customers have wrote good luck wishes in books displayed in the buffet.
Tony added: “I am sad to leave as I will miss my customers but we just wish them well in the future.”