Sadness as cafe owners who ‘light up’ Nottinghamshire village announce closure

A cafe described as a real ‘asset’ for a Nottinghamshire village will close for good next month. Owners Vaughan and Vicky Prendergast said it had been 10 years of laughter and laughter serving customers behind the counter at Chef’s Cafe in East Leake.

“It is with great sadness that we have to inform everyone that the Chef’s Café will close its doors for the last time on Tuesday June 28th. Thank you all, for your support over the past ten years, we really appreciate it” , this is how they announced the news on Facebook.

The traditional village cafe on Gotham Road is loved by locals for its full English known as ‘The Works’, hash browns, homemade lasagna and free refills of tea. Customers, saddened by the news, said they would be sorry to see the couple go.

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Vaughan, who opened the cafe after leaving the Royal Navy, told Nottinghamshire Live he will turn 61 this year and with the lease up for renewal he did not want to sign up for another 10 years. “It’s a real shame – it’s been a giggle but I can’t do this until I’m 71. I don’t think it’ll be vacant for too long. There’s a pretty loyal following.

“Ten years ago a lot of kids were coming and now they’re coming with their kids. It’s been 10 years. It was a bit hit and miss. [after leaving the Navy] but it was nice. You have to make a bad cup of coffee before someone wants to shoot you,” the former frontman said.

The couple has no specific plans for the future. However, Vaughan said, “We thought we would have part-time jobs to keep us going.”

By June 28, business is business as usual, so customers can come in for a cup of tea and a chat, with many saying they will miss the banter. One said: “It’s such a shame. The owners were always friendly and constantly offered free tea refills.

“We used to go there a lot. It’s a great place for full English and no fuss breakfasts. It was always busy. Lots of builders use it, families and old people from the village also.”

Chef’s Cafe in East Leake

One customer, commenting on the announcement of the closure on Facebook, said: “We will miss you guys, such a lovely cafe and lovely owners! Such an asset to the village, we will miss you.”

Others said it was terrible news. “You both light up the village and we will miss you very much,” said one fan. The cafe has been popular with vegetarians. “So sorry to read this, I loved taking my boys over the summer break for some good food at reasonable prices, and as a vegetarian you were one of my top choices to visit as you had always so much to offer,” said another villager.

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement