SERVICE with a smile and a ‘fantastic atmosphere’ were two of the contributing factors to this year’s Observer Café of the Year winner.
Readers’ votes have been counted and The Deck Café, in Emsworth Yacht Harbour, has been crowned the most popular.
Owner Debbie Green, 62, from Chichester, was travelling back to the area when she got the call saying The Deck Café had won.
“I was really thrilled,” she said, adding she rang the café straight away.
“They were screaming in the background. It’s a team effort,” she said.
After opening at the marina three years ago, the café was previously highly commended at the Observer’s business awards.
Employing eight full-time staff in total – four in the kitchen and four front of house – there is also additional help at weekends, with everyone making it a welcoming café,
“We’ve got a fantastic atmosphere here,” said Debbie.
“All the girls laugh, I never know how they can laugh all day, but they do.”
She said when she started, she wanted the restaurant to have ‘wholesome food, really nice fresh food’ to attract people, but even she could not anticipate how popular the café would become.
“I thought we would have boat people. I never thought we would get the ladies who lunch and every single person likes to bring their friends. It has become a destination,” she said.
The café is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. During the week it is open from 9am-5pm, and it reopens at 6pm on Friday to serve tapas. Then it is open from 8.30am-5.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m so pleased that we’ve got on the map by hard work,” she said, adding she was already planning for next year.
To find out more about the café, visit www.thedeckcafe.com, find it on Facebook or call 01243 376161.