Serving up for 40 years

IF you can remember when you could buy soup, a mixed grill, fruit salad and a coffee and still have change for the bus home, then you’re probably old enough to remember when Cypriana opened in Worksop.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 13th December 2011, 9:53 am

Owners Angela and Charlie Kaponas are about to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Bridge Street coffee house and grill.

They opened at the beginning of 1972, back when you could buy the above-mentioned meal for the grand sum of 60p.

Also on the menu were fish and chips for 25p, a bacon buttie for 12p, and a beef salad for 30p. Tea was 3p a cup.

It was entirely by chance that the couple - who moved to the UK from Cyprus in the ‘60s - ended up in Worksop.

She said: “We were living in Leeds and working in catering for other people so we decided to look around for somewhere to start our own business.”

“We were driving round looking at Sheffield and Chesterfield when we saw signs for Worksop so we thought we would have a look.”

“It was a Wednesday market day so it was really busy. We saw this place on Bridge Street which had been a ladies underwear shop and we decided this was the place.”

Forty years, three children and seven grandchildren later the two of them are still at the heart of the business, with Angela still cooking the trademark moussaka which first appeared on the menu as one of the daily specials.

Angela, 63, said that when they opened they were the only cafe on Bridge Street. Now there are about 20.

“Things have changed a lot, there is much more competition and at the moment people are struggling for money so we have to keep our prices down.”

“Sometimes people come in and I think they are surprised that we’re still here, but every time I think of retiring I change my mind again.”

“We were the first foreigners to move into Bridge Street so it took a while for people to accept us, but we have never had any problems and Worksop is definitely our home.”

“We go back to visit family in Cyprus but when we come back here it feels like coming home, this is where we belong now.”

Charlie, 72, moved to the UK in 1960 and Angela followed five years later, the year they got married. They live at Water Meadows and also own the Cypriana fish bar on Ryton Street, while their son Leano owns Cafe Neo at Bridge Court.

When they opened back in 1972 the country was in darkness much of the time because of rolling power cuts.

Angela said: “We were working by candlelight and we stayed open until 10pm then so we had to put candles on the tables for customers.”

The cafe was extended in 1974.

Cypriana manager Chris Bartrop has been at the cafe since day one and is considered part of the family now.

“We have loyal customers who have been coming in all these years and now their children and grandchildren come in. Sometimes someone will come in and I can remember them as a little girl or boy, I’ve watched them grow up,” said Angela.

“I am always being stopped for a chat on Bridge Street.”