Owners at Zara’s cafe in Birchington celebrate 12 years in business

Patsy and Liz from Zara's cafe

The owners of a popular Birchington café are celebrating their 12th year in business today (October 25) by saying thanks to all their loyal customers.

Couple Liz Baldry, 54, and Patsy Bowers, 61, took the reins of the Station Road venue on October 25, 2011, marking a complete career change for Liz and the fulfilment of an ambition for Patsy.

The pair took the plunge when the former owner decided to sell up in the September and they were in the doors and ready to trade in just a month’s time.

Liz, 54, said: “It was always going to be a joint venture even though I had no clue about catering and spent the first day worrying about how to work the till.

“I am front of house and Patsy is the chef. She worked as a chef at Pfizer for 20 years before and had always wanted a café.

“We got in, did it up, opened it and never looked back. We have lots of lovely elderly customers and I think the only thing that really changes over time is when we lose someone.

“We managed to get through covid and the lockdowns and although there were issues we got through them.”

The couple, who have been together for 18 years, had lived in the village but downsized to a new home in Manston, partly due to the pandemic impact.

Liz said: “The first lockdown was awful. None of us knew what to expect and we thought we might lose everything, our house, savings and business.

“Then we had our (grant) money come through and everything was on and off, changing the café around (covid guidelines) so it was quite hard-going.

“In the second lockdown I contacted (MP) Roger Gale and he was really helpful. We got through. Then the price of everything went up but we try to keep the prices down for our customers.”

When they aren’t working the pair enjoy walking, Patsy is a gym-goer and Liz likes a game of golf.

They say the aim is to continue business as it is, feeding people with good homemade meals such as Shepherds pie, roasts, English breakfasts and more and making sure their customers and loyal regulars are happy.

Liz said: “We are just going to keep on looking after our customers and carry on. We would like to say thank you to all our lovely loyal customers and friends for all their continuous support.”

Zara’s is at 75 Station Road, Birchington. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 8am-2pm.

Find the café on facebook here

9 Comments

      • Me too, but problem is some Birchington businesses like The Powell Arms only take cards, meaning I have to carry both all the time.

    • I suspect percentage required by card company for each transaction would impact their great pricing. Lovely cafe serving best breakfast in Birchington. Best wishes to them both

  1. We have had some great breakfasts there. They are a lovely couple, really care about their customers and the village. Good luck and congratulations

  2. I believe that taking cash only is excellent as so many businesses will only accept card payment and not cash – even Sainsbury s are changing their tills at the self checkouts to mainly card only. I was directed to the tills that at the moment have a human zapping items so I could pay with cash. I no longer use Sainsbury s . Great cafe , great ladies , great service . Birchington is lucky to have such a gem 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

    • Cash only is allegedly quite a signifier that the business is involved in “creative” accounting. It also allows businesses, like the car wash in cliftonville that got shut down for example, to allegedly launder money.

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