DJ To Re-Open Local Café
“So I just bought a café,” wrote Tony Marks, the Juice FM radio presenter and Hanover resident.
It was only a short Facebook post on the Hanover Community Notice Board but the news unleashed a tsunami of hope and goodwill.
“It got 550 comments and over 700 likes – one of the most popular postings they’d ever had. I was overwhelmed. ”
Marks [right], the new proprietor aiming to revive a much loved local eatery, was deluged with advice and encouragement. “That place has the potential to be amazing!” gushed one supporter. “You’ll have everyone’s support if you get it right (particularly parents). We all LOVE a decent cafe. Good luck x.”
“I always had it in the back of my mind that it was a great spot for a café,” explains Marks. “I walk my dog in the park most days, and I kept a close eye on it.”
“People have been amazing, because it’s a big career change. Lots of visitors have swung by the cafe while we’re doing it up, sticking their heads in, saying hi.”
Despite nearly a decade presenting on commercial radio, Marks trained as a chef and worked in front-of-house management at The Savoy hotel in London, before switching to media. He will continue radio work two nights a week, but the rest of his time will be devoted to the café, due to open early July. It is named Starfish & Coffee, after his favourite Prince track.
“Starfish & Coffee will feel like a high end cafe – that is what I am aiming for. We’ll have a brunch menu, with freshly sourced local ingredients. We’re aiming to make the best breakfast in Brighton – Full English, plus more health conscious options. Muesli will definitely be on the menu!”
His ideal cuppa? “A flat white, no sugar, milky, with a strong hit. I want to make sure it’s good quality coffee, but, for me, the most important thing is being in the right environment, with good people.”
Dogs are welcome (“as long as their owners behave”) and so are parents and kids. “My new business would be heading for a brick wall if I didn’t welcome mums with buggies.”
Starfish & Coffee will also host ‘pop-up’ restaurants once a month, promoting local chefs and street food sellers.
Marks is aware that past owners have struggled to make the venue work, despite its fabulous location. “You need to think about what people in the neighbourhood want. And I’ve been listening.”
Tony Marks, @Tony_Marks, presents Brightonsfinest, every Monday & Tuesday, 9-11pm on Juice FM.
- – Conrad Brunner, @ConradBrunner