Traditional ’50s café attracts big custom

A DISUSED space has been completely transformed as a 1950s-themed café in Lancing expands in order to meet demand.

The Railway Station Cafeteria opened its doors at the art-deco Luxor cinema site in Station Parade, South Street five years ago and has since gone from strength to strength.

LH 301214 The Railway Station cafe, Lancing. I'll tag along too. Tony Andrews and Collette Luck. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141230-154101001

LH 301214 The Railway Station cafe, Lancing. I'll tag along too. Tony Andrews and Collette Luck. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141230-154101001

With pictures of steam trains adorning the walls, homemade cakes on the counter top and competitive prices, couple Tony Andrews and Collette Luck said they wanted to reintroduce traditional British cafés to the village.

After some years, the two decided to expand into the space next door, which used to be known as the Mobility Centre.

“We took over the Mobility Centre two years ago. It was derelict,” said Tony.

Now, both spaces have merged into one larger venue.

“We had to go through the council, fire department and solicitors. It took ten months to get through it all.”

The Luxor cinema closed in 1969, but still maintains its electric sign and iconic architecture.

Some parts of the building have remained out of use for 45 years and Tony hopes that with his expansion and now buying a third shop, next to the old Mobility Centre, he can continue to help bring new life into the building.

“The 1950s style is where I came from. I don’t like big graphics or fast food joints. This is a British classic diner. We use red and cream colours from the old steam engines, but we still have a lot more to do,” said Tony.

The couple have been listening to what residents would like to see in the café.

Tony continued: “We’re going to bring a big screen in twice a week just to show the old movies with actors like Clark Gable.

“We’re also going to do bingo twice a week and see how it goes, but the town have to back us.”

In catering since the mid-1970s and working in almost 20 cafés, Tony said this was his best venture so far.

“People come from Brighton and say this is the only traditional café left,” said Tony.

Collette added: “It’s getting very popular and hopefully it will get even more popular.”

The café is now decorated with night-time lighting and the couple have plans to turn on the old Luxor sign.

All hot drinks are 99p and OAP special rates are available every Wednesday.