A NEW café in Purley town centre is feeling blue for all the right reasons.
Nathan Beck and wife Debbie, from Old Coulsdon, took over Café Nino in Brighton Road, Purley, six months ago and relaunched as Café Blue at the beginning of the year.
Café Nino had been in Purley for seven years but Nathan said the regulars have responded well to the change and still come in every day.
"We've taken the best of what Café Nino was doing and added our own stuff," said Nathan.
The 44-year-old gave up working for a media company in London to open the café with former full-time mum Debbie, 45. The couple have two daughters, Zoe, 12 and Eloise, 10.
Nathan went to an elite school of food before buying Café Nino so he could work close to home and "get out of the rat race".
"I wanted to do something completely different," he said. "It's fantastic working with Debbie, I love every minute of it. It can be stressful at times but we always wanted to work together."
Janet Francis, 65, from Caterham, was impressed, up to a point. "I think places like this are needed but it's not enough. For people like me it's fine, I have got the time to sit and have a coffee, but the town needs to give the young people something."
Purley resident Norman Pollard, 87, added: "It looks alright, but the important thing is the quality of the food and drinks. It looks like they are trying to copy restaurants in France, whether it will go down in Purley we will have to see."
Café Blue's menus are all created by Nathan, and with Costa just across the road he said the homemade meals keep customer coming back.
"A lot of people are turning their back on big chains," he said. "We provide fresh food, homemade soup and lasagne and burgers which Costa don't do. I think people keep coming back because the food is better."
Nathan said the new bright blue shop front has helped draw people into the café with more customers since the relaunch. "I have a background in marketing so I wanted to create a strong brand and we have gone for something modern," he said.
Nathan said the long term plan for the café is just to be a success. He hopes to host more private functions and business meetings – they have continued hosting Purley Breakfast Club once a month – and promote the café in the community.