ONE of Newport’s only vegetarian cafés has been forced to close due to lack of income, in yet another blow for the city centre.
Hunky Dory’s Café, named after a David Bowie album, has been established at its Charles Street location on and off for 40 years and last year was taken over by Shaheen Sutton.
Ms Sutton, who had no experience running a restaurant but had always cooked her own vegetarian food, stepped in to regenerate the business after being made redundant from her job in human resources.
But last week, Ms Sutton, who also employed two waitresses, was forced to shut up shop.
She said: “Sadly I have had to close Hunky Dory’s down, I was not making an income and I could no longer continue it as a hobby.”
The restaurant served everything fromwatermelon and blackbean curry to chocolate courgette cake, and was a favourite with students.
“I don’t see it as a failure, I went in to volunteer at Hunky Dory’s and then found myself running it,” said Ms Sutton.
“The experience I have gained is enormous and will hold me in great stead when I wish to start again with my own veggie eatery.”
Paul Hawkins, who owns the independent Diverse Music record shop and has been on Charles Street for 13 years after opening in the city centre in 1988, said: “It is a shame to see other buildings going empty, but it seems to be catching in Newport.
“There are other cafés on this street, like the Secret Garden Café which is successful, but people need to support things for them to survive.
“There is a lot of apathy around in Newport.”
Hunky Dory’s is the latest in a long line of city centre businesses to close or move out of town, with independent men’s clothing store Henry Cordy closing last week after more than 100 years.
Mothercare, Next, Burtons, Bonmarche, Sports Direct, Dorothy Perkins, Marks and Spencer, Game,H&Mand other independents including Bethan Gift Shop on High Street have all moved out of the city centre, closed or are in the process of closing.