A new business venture in Alston has built up a real head of steam in its first few weeks, with its location giving it a sound platform for future growth.
The cafe at the town’s station, long a popular destination for visitors, has been taken over by Jim McCarry and his partner Janice Parker, who run the nearby Lowbyer Manor bed and breakfast, and it has already proved a hit with both locals and visitors since it reopened last month.
Janice said that they are running their new business as a cafe by day, seven days a week, serving hot and cold food and drinks, with seating for up to 40 people on the station platform, which is under cover.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings to 10pm, the cafe is being operated as a bistro with what Janice described as a “posh burger menu” which also features food with a difference, and this has also attracted plenty of customers.
“Things have gone great so far,” said Janice. “We are the only cafe in town open at the moment and we have plenty of parking at the station.
“The customers have been about two-thirds locals and one third visitors. We have even had a few bikers stop by who used to go to the Hartside Cafe.”
Janice and Jim plan to open their bistro indoors on six evenings a week, and they have also taken on the cafe located at Slaggyford, at the other end of the South Tynedale Railway.
Eventually, Janice added, they would like to provide live music and other forms of entertainment at their evening bistro at the Alston end of the line.
Meanwhile, the cafe/bistro is open between 10am and 10pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and up to 8pm on Sundays, with the cafe operating from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Wednesday.