End of an era as Aqua 43 in Broadstairs to close after being run by Evans family for more than 50 years

Trevor Evans is retiring after spending much of his life in the family-run business

This Sunday will mark the end of an era with the last day of trading at Aqua 43 in Broadstairs as owner Trevor Evans retires.

The restaurant – which was previously The Clifton Hotel and Restaurant – has been run by the Evans family for more than 50 years.

Trevor was 12 when he moved to Broadstairs in 1972 with parents Trevor Snr and Margaret and they took on what was then a hotel as well as a restaurant.

As a youngster he worked every school holiday and weekends in the family business. Even when he took a job at Hoverlloyd when he was 19 he would go to work at 4.30am, finish at 12.30pm and then rush to Broadstairs to be in the kitchen by 1pm!

Trevor has worked at the restaurant for most of his life

In 1997 Trevor and wife Karen bought The Clifton from his parents with Trevor taking over the family business completely. At that point the hotel was no longer operational and so in 2005 the business was rebranded Aqua 43.

Trevor, 64, said: “I have been here for most of my life, working every summer, weekends and bank holidays.

“It was The Clifton Hotel and Restaurant but when I bought it there was no longer a hotel so I gave it a name change.”

The couple’s three children Jessica, Charlie and Gabriella have all worked in the family business over the years, with Charlie marking 15 years when the venue closes this weekend.  Trevor says if he wasn’t retiring the five grandchildren would probably have taken jobs too!

Trevor, Karen and children Gabriella, Charlie and Jessica

Aqua 43 has attracted loyal regulars, holiday-makers and even some stars.

Trevor said: “There have been so many well-known people coming in that we have got to know. Timothy Spall is quite a regular, Natalie Cassidy from Eastenders, Michael Portillo and Joe Swash came in when he was filming on the beach.

“We have also done a lot of work with Holy Trinity Church, holding their fish and chip nights, raffles and playing the piano to raise funds for them. I have done their takeaways for their October get togethers, it’s nice to have involvement with the church and many of the people come here after their Sunday service.

“It is more than a restaurant, it is a community.”

Celebrating every occasion

Trevor has spent almost three decades as restaurant owner and all through that time he has done everything from prepping, cooking, cleaning and serving.

He said: “I do all the kitchen and prep on my own. I make my own chips so am picking up big bags of potatoes and it is quite physical and takes its toll. I have been running the kitchen since I was 19 and so I have done my bit.”

Retirement will still be busy with Trevor’s children already drawing up a list of jobs for him to do! But there will also be time to get back into his passion of music and perhaps be involved with the Thanet Male Voice Choir once again.

Trevor’s dad was among those who first created the choir in 1977 and Trevor was a tenor, then became the pianist and was also their conductor and musical director.

He said: “My dad was Welsh and so my (musical) knowledge comes from the heart rather than theory.”

Bessie’s Tea Parlour, run by wife Karen, continues to trade as usual

The restaurant in Albion Street is open from 11am to 8.30pm today and tomorrow and 11am to 8pm for the final day of trade this Sunday (February 25).

Trevor said: “The last day is going to be sad and quite emotional and I am sure I will wake up (the next) morning and get in the car to come to Broadstairs!

“Myself and my family want to extend our thanks to all the people who have supported us over the years.”

The property is due to change hands on February 29th.

Next door Bessie’s Tea Parlour, run by Karen, remains open as usual.