Fresh look for roadside cafe

By Rebecca SheppardFresh fish, stir fries and salads are not usually on the menu in roadside cafes.But a new restaurant is offering truckers driving through East Anglia a healthy alternative to the usual fry-ups dripping with grease.

By Rebecca Sheppard

Fresh fish, stir fries and salads are not usually on the menu in roadside cafes.

But a new restaurant is offering truckers driving through East Anglia a healthy alternative to the usual fry-ups dripping with grease.

The Orwell Crossing, on the A14 eastbound in Nacton, near Ipswich, is offering lorry drivers fresh food 24 hours a day.


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The eatery has been built in the style of a Suffolk barn and decorated like a conservatory, with a glass roof, terracotta floor tiles, a water feature and wrought iron tables.

It also features a flat-screen television for the drivers who need to unwind, a bar and 14 secure showers.

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But its main attraction is its menu - there are self-serve cabinets with cooked meats and salads, stir-fries and locally-caught fish as well as the usual burgers and all-day breakfasts.

Anne Blowers, 54, gave up farming chickens and pigs with her partner, Karl Rout, 44, to start the business with his family on the former site of a BP garage.

They recruited the farm labourers to do the groundwork for the café, which includes plush facilities for women truck drivers, with the project costing £1.5million.

The lorry park has space for 50 trucks, but Mrs Blowers said they hoped to expand it to accommodate 250 trucks.

She added: “We opened on Thursday, but it was very low-key and there was a steady trickle of people, but now we are very busy.”

Andy Davey, the manager, said the café had created about 20 jobs and added: “This is a very exciting project to be involved in and it is desperately needed.

“You can travel all over the country, but you will be hard pressed to find a service station with a chef cooking fresh food.

“All our suppliers are local and we have daily deliveries. We know who catches the fish and where all the meat has come from. The vegetables are from an organic farm and we have the vegetables that are in season when they are at their best.”

Barry Faris, a lorry driver who was using the café yesterday on his way to Felixstowe, said: “To be honest, I think it should have been on the other side of the road for people coming out of Felixstowe, but you will always have people coming in dribs and drabs late. There are two junctions so you can come round and turn back.”

Vince Friend, who also stopped in on the way back to Felixstowe from Derby, added: “As long as they keep the prices right, then drivers will come in. It is nice and clean. Some places are so dirty you need a shower when you come out of the shower.”

rebecca.sheppard@eadt.co.uk

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