Business partners at a Holbeach roadside cafe have received a nationwide vote of confidence just five years after opening its doors.
Susan Dunn and Rebecca Nicholson, who together run Lodge Farm Cafe off the A17, have been voted one of the top seven roadside cafes in the UK by national trade paper and “the bible” of the roadside cafe industry, Truckstop News.
We’re a very small roadside cafe so to come second out of hundreds of truckstops in the country is quite an achievementSusan Dunn of Lodge Farm Cafe, Holbeach
Lodge Farm Cafe won the best runner-up prize in the Vest Truckstop for Food category, with the bonus of “highly commended” recognition from the judges for its “first-class menu”.
Susan, who took on the cafe with Rebecca in April 2011, said: “We were first nominated last year by customers who read Truckstop News and we ended up being one of eight roadside cafes to be shortlisted.
“But this year, we were shortlisted in the top seven by judges for the bible of truckstop cafes and because it was so close, we won a highly commended award for our food.
“We’re a very small roadside cafe on a one-acre piece of land, so to come second out of hundreds of truckstops in the country is quite an achievement.”
Fortunes could not be more different for Susan and Rebecca who, just a month after opening the cafe, were left counting the costs of two burglaries within the space of a month.
Both of them happened at weekends in May 2011 when soft drinks, meat, frozen food and gardening tools were stolen.
Shortly after the second break-in, Susan said: “We were a bit down and miserable at first but you can’t be like that all of the time.
“We were back up and open on the morning after the second break-in, with the help of local people who were very kind and lent us things to help us out.”
Five years on, the business partners have bounced back from losing about £3,500 worth of stock to become nationally recognised for their high-quality food.
Susan said: “Our customers come from around the country, but we’ve also built up quite a good local trade which has made a big difference.
“Word of mouth has been the biggest seller for us, otherwise we wouldn’t be here now.”