The Independent London Newspaper
21st February 2017

Leading TV news anchors back campaign to save 'greasy spoon' cafe near ITN headquarters

    Owner Erdogan Garip with Andrew’s café staff members Elly Bakir and Chelsiu Anca

    Published: 21 January, 2016
    By ELLA JESSEL

    A TRIO of the country’s best-known TV news anchors have backed a campaign to save a much-loved greasy spoon café from being bulldozed to make way for luxury flats.

    Andrew’s cafe, which has been serving for hot meals for more than 60 years, is opposite the ITN offices in Gray’s Inn Road and is a favourite among its journalists. The café is facing eviction to make way for a new development of  private apartments and office space.

    Channel 4 newscaster Jon Snow said: “This is one of the last mixed inner-city neighbourhoods in this part of Gray’s Inn Road. Andrew’s is a truly eclectic mix, from TV to road sweeping, rich and poor mix easily.”

    He added: “This is one of the last touchstones of true culinary community. The idea that this celebrated greasy spoon is to be killed off in favour of high-end apartments is little short of scandalous.”

    His Channel 4 News colleague Krishnan Guru-Murthy and ITV’s News At Ten host Tom Bradby have been pictured interrupting their lunches to sign a petition against the cafe’s closure.

    Developer Dukelease wants to demolish a row of existing shopfronts on Gray’s Inn Road, retaining only the façade of three units, and fill in the air space by building five storeys containing 13 luxury flats. It will form an entrance designed to be the “face” of a new public thoroughfare connecting the road to Mount Pleasant, part of a scheme that also proposes to redevelop Panther House, home to over 100 affordable studios. 

    If the plans are approved Andrew’s could be forced to close as early as May. 

    Italian brothers Lorenzo and Andrew, whose name remains above the door, ran the café for almost 50 years, before current owner Erdogan Garip took over 13 years ago. He has collected more than 400 signatures opposing the proposals.

    “I don’t have another shop,” said Mr Garip. “The council should look after us too, not just the big companies who come, build and make money.”

    Waitress Elly Bakir, 22, said: “It’s very upsetting to be honest. We’re used to the customers and they are used to us. They like us, it’s always busy. Customers don’t want new places. We will lose our jobs – our bread our butter.”

    Regular customer David Stebbing, a black cab driver, added: “The prices around here are crazy, apart from here. It’s the character of the place we’ll lose in the winter. You want a hot meal, not a takeaway sandwich.”

    A spokesman for Dukelease said the developer had been in discussions with Andrew’s since June 2015. 

    “The development is focused on providing flexible space and we do envisage that there will be a café or restaurant included as part of the proposals,” he added.

    “However our plans haven’t yet been considered by Camden and rental levels are therefore still to be determined.”

     

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