A new cafe in Gloucester Green in Oxford is attracting customers who come for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.
The Spires Cafe has taken over the unit that was previously occupied by game store Thirsty Meeples, which has now moved to another unit a short distance away.
After taking over the lease in November, owner Fitim Pira spent some time converting the unit into a cafe, then opened in February.
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Since then, he and his partner Sandra and their small team have been attracting new customers to the café, which is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Mr Pira, from Albania, hopes he can get a license to serve alcohol and stay open later, so he can add a dinner option to the menu.
He said: “I’ve worked in cocktail bars, but I’ve been in the same industry for years, working in cafes and serving food.
“Our cooked breakfast is £8.25 and it’s a very large plate of food so we think it’s price competitive.
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“We try to source as many local ingredients as possible, with vegetables from the Covered Market and the Millets Farm.
“In addition to breakfast, we serve hot lunches and it’s a varied overall menu – there are Asian and Italian dishes and we also do pizza.
“I do some of the cooking and the chef is my partner Sandra.”
Mr Pira said the competition is tough because there are so many other restaurants nearby, but the cafe attracts regular customers and new customers all the time.
He added: ‘Families love coming to Gloucester Green because they know they can get away from the traffic with their children and relax.
“The markets now operate four days a week here and it attracts a lot of people.
“We do afternoon tea with scones and it’s very popular at the moment.”
Mr Pira said he had a multi-year lease with the owners of Gloucester Green and was looking forward to setting up his new business.
He added: “We have rent to pay and business rates and I think with the right support we could invest more in the business.
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“Gloucester Green is a good place at the moment – when people see crowds, that’s where they want to go too.
“Lots of people come in for coffee, snacks and cake – it’s a good atmosphere in the afternoon and we hope to stay open later if we can.”
Mr Pira added that the unit now occupied by The Spiers Cafe remained empty after Thirsty Meeples moved units in 2020.
Gloucester Green Market is run by LSD Promotions on behalf of the City Council and currently operates four days a week, Wednesday to Saturday.
In addition to hot food stalls, there are stalls selling clothing, antiques, bric-a-brac, books, and vinyl.
This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team over 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.
Contact him by email: [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF