A coffee shop in South Shields is celebrating after winning the Gazette’s Cafe of the Year award – just 10 months after being taken over by its new owners.
Clifton Coffee Shop, in Ocean Road, beat off strong competition from second-placed Aldermans Coffee House, in the town’s Market Place, and Milk and Sugar, in North Road, Boldon Colliery, to win the title.
The shop is based in Clifton Guest House, which was taken over by Liz and Scott Carlucci last November.
The pair have clearly made quite an impression since then, with your votes seeing it crowned as South Tyneside’s best cafe.
Mrs Carlucci said: “I can’t believe it! I wasn’t expecting us to win at all.
“We’ve only been here for 10 months, and were against some really good contenders.
We were just delighted to be nominated, so to win it is a real shockLiz Carlucci
“We were just delighted to be nominated, so to win it is a real shock.”
The coffee shop is open seven days a week, and is looking at various ways to meet customer requests.
The Carluccis had owned bed and breakfasts before taking over Clifton, but never a coffee shop.
Mrs Carlucci added: “We set out to make the coffee shop a home from home for the customers, and they do seem really relaxed when they come in.
“A lot of people have said that this is a place they come to take all of their stresses away, which is a really nice thing for us.
“A lot of local people come in, as well as people from as far away as Edinburgh, who had been told about us. We also have regulars from Sunderland and Durham.
“We listen to what the customers want. We had requests for smaller portions and different tastes for afternoon tea, so we did that.
“We do Sunday lunches now, and they are really popular. They are getting quite busy.”