A POPULAR cafe has re-opened after relocating to new premises and undergoing a £250,000 refurbishment.
Eugene’s cafe is now open for business in its new home in the former Gillen’s Sports Bar building in Park Road, Hartlepool.
The cafe, which was formerly located at the back of the old Westgate’s store in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, closed its doors last September due to financial problems of re-locating the business to the other end of the complex.
The closure resulted in the loss of 16 jobs but bosses have since re-located to the new premises and have reopened their doors to customers.
Eugene’s is owned by the Downes family – Martin, 62, Margaret, 55, and Andrea Downes, 28 – who always pledged to bounce back and re-open.
They have also taken on six of their old staff and about 14 new workers have been recruited at the site after spending a quarter of a million pounds gutting and refurbishing it over the past six months.
Martin said: “I am really pleased and relieved that we are finally able to open our doors.
“We have a lot of loyal customers who were upset when we closed our doors in Middleton Grange.
“But we are pleased to have found a new location and that we are now open for business.
“The building needed gutting and refurbishing and it has taken a lot of work over the past six months.
“There has been a lot of investment in the cafe but we are pleased with how it is looking.”
Martin, who lives at Wynyard with his family and has been running cafe businesses in Hartlepool since 1980, said they can now cater for hundreds of customers.
Eugene’s can hold 180 people downstairs and upstairs, which is due to open in the next two to three weeks, can hold a further 220 people.
The upstairs function room will be for parties, dinners and Christmas bookings and act as an overflow should the downstairs room get too full and Martin said there will be more of a “relaxed” atmosphere upstairs.
There is a lift for families with pushchairs and disabled people to access upstairs.
The cafe serves traditional English grub including pies, quiches, scones, and cakes, and their popular frothy coffee.
There is a separate business, also known as Eugene’s, run by the family in Seaham, which is still operating.