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Kesgrave Kitchen goes up for sale as owners feel it is 'time to retire'

Paul Driver, owner of Kesgrave Kitchen, took over the business in 1978 Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Paul Driver, owner of Kesgrave Kitchen, took over the business in 1978 Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

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The owners of a much-loved cafe in Kesgrave are hanging up their frying pans after 40 years at the helm.

Paul Driver, owner of Kesgrave Kitchen, says it feels like a family rather than a business Picture: ADAM HOWLETTPaul Driver, owner of Kesgrave Kitchen, says it feels like a family rather than a business Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Paul and Carol Driver, who own Kesgrave Kitchen in Main Road, have been serving gut-busting breakfasts and lunches since Paul took over the cafe with his brother Peter in 1978.

Now 65, Paul says he feels it is time to take life a bit easier - and hopes to hand the reigns to a safe pair of hands.

He said: “I was brought up in Castle Hill estate in Ipswich and came here to Kesgrave when I was eleven. Me and my brother Peter used to walk past this place every day, we always said we wanted to own it.

“I was living in Norwich Road when I got married to Carol and heard this place was up for sale.

Paul Driver, owner of Kesgrave Kitchen, is selling the business after 40 years at the helm Picture: ADAM HOWLETTPaul Driver, owner of Kesgrave Kitchen, is selling the business after 40 years at the helm Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

“My brother was working in Jersey at the time so we asked dad if he would help us buy it - and the rest is history.”

Peter died seven years ago in August.

“When Pete died everyone here felt it,” said Mr Driver.

“We had started up in 1978.

Kesgrave Kitchen back in 1937, when it was named Tom's Cafe. Picture: ADAM HOWLETTKesgrave Kitchen back in 1937, when it was named Tom's Cafe. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

“We moved in on the Friday and opened on the Monday.

“We were 20 something then so could do the work of 20 people.

“In those days we used to be able to knock bacon rolls out ten to the dozen.

“We used to do a cup of tea for 18p and a sausage sandwich would cost you 25p. We did a set lunch for £2 too - a cup of tea, cottage pie and apple crumble.”

Although Mr Driver and his family have run the cafe for 40 years, it had been serving up food for decades before that.

“It was Tom’s cafe from 1937 and remained like that until 1972,” he said.

“When the next owners took over they renamed it Kesgrave Kitchen. Before that it was a milliners shop.”

Mr Driver said although he has loved cooking for hungry locals - it is now time to take a rest.

“I am 66 soon and I can’t keep doing it all my life,” he said.

“It will be nice if someone could come along and do another 40 years.

“I think the best part of it has been the customers.

“A lot of people have become really good friends, we have done things socially as well as them coming in here for some food.

“It is just time to retire.

“I will miss it.

“You never know, I might end up working here again in the future - as long as it’s fewer hours.”

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