And so we say goodbye to another part of my life and existence. 2016 has seen a lot of loss for me, in regards to my interests, and in personal matters. Though today, I find myself writing about the demise of my favourite cafe. The Cafe Red in Ormskirk.
Since I was 9 years old, I would go to the Cafe Red to have a sit down and a drink with my family. I went with my Grandma and Grandad, my Uncle Niall, my Mother, and my younger Brother. To put it simply, it was the finest cafe in the entire town of Ormskirk. And as I walked past where it was today, I saw the builders tearing out the inards of the place. It wasn’t a very nice thing to see.
The cafe was ran by Christian, who was from Belgium, and his wife Denise. It was a family run place, though it predated them. I had been a regular customer there for over a decade, and the reason why is simple. It was a nice place. Unlike the chain coffee shops that adorned the town centre, the Starbucks and the Costa Coffee, the Cafe Red was small, like a safe corner you could hide in when the proceedings of the town were too loud or garish for one to handle.
Christian made a mean Belgian Waffle, all of the ones he ever served were ones he made. When I was in the mood for a celebration, it would be one Belgian Waffle, served with Whipped Cream and Caramel sauce. And believe me, there was never a bad waffle that I have been served there. Ever. My waffle would usually be joined by a cold drink, usually a coke or a tango, whatever I fancied at the time. I often said, whilst in University, that I would take a date there, or take a friend. When in University I would say ‘If you’re sick of chain cafes, go there, they do really good coffee, tell them Ben sent you’.
What I loved more than the food was Christian and Denise. Even on a busy day, they would still say a quick hello. They were great hosts, and great owners of the cafe. Good food, great service. Christian would never get free WiFi for the cafe, because he knew that that isn’t the primary purpose of a cafe. You don’t go into a cafe to play Angry Birds, or watch a YouTube video. You go with family or friends to have a drink and some food! That’s what the cafe red stood for in a way.
Alas, there is no Cafe Red anymore. It is closed for good. The signs are gone, the pictures of Christian with various celebrities, including Samantha Womack and Robbie Williams, all removed from the walls. The chair my Uncle sat at for Lunch by the coffee machine was removed.
All the best places in Ormskirk is gone. Cafe Red, Taylors of Ormskirk, Penny’s House of Chocolate, Odyssey, Safeway, Woolworths. All places I remember from my Childhood, and recent adulthood are gone. It sucks, but it can’t be there forever. I don’t know where to go for drink now, but I do know this: At least I went to Cafe Red. And now, I need to find a recipe for my own Belgian Waffles. Christian, you spoilt me, dammit. Good luck with the future. Maybe we’ll see you around.