New life dawns for Waterfront cafe

BUSINESSMAN Robin Wan is busy preparing the Neptune Caf�, in Fore Street, to launch a new business as a chocolate house and coffee shop.Mr Wan has taken over the former traditional caf� in the Waterfront area and is readying the premises for an opening early in February as That Chocolate Place.

IPSWICH: Businessman Robin Wan is busy preparing the Neptune Caf�, in Fore Street, to launch a new business as a chocolate house and coffee shop.

Mr Wan has taken over the former traditional caf� in the Waterfront area and is readying the premises for an opening early in February as That Chocolate Place.

“There is a lot of work still to be done,” he said. “It is a completely new venture. It is a career change for me really.

“The Waterfront is a developing area of the town. I am hoping to breathe a bit of new life into it, somewhere for people to come in and relax a little bit. We are looking for the support of the local community.

“We will be offering gourmet coffee and chocolate. We hope people who like their coffee will come along. There will also be chocolate ice cream in the summer.”

His background is in project management and IT and the chocolate place already has its live website, thatchocolateplace.co.uk

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Previous caf� operator Deborah Davies served her last full English breakfast at the caf� over Christmas, he said.

Robin Wan said the new business would probably open seven days a week, whenever there was demand.

“This is a lovely building which has been serving the people of Ipswich for many years. I hope to be able to do it justice. It is nice to have some positive business news. That Chocolate Place will provide a service and some jobs for local people,” he added.

There has been a caf� in this former port merchant's house for decades.

Owner of the caf� is Bob Shelley who said: “It is a really exciting project and part of the pattern of what is happening in the Waterfront area. I am very pleased.”

He has owned it for 30 years.

“It was previously called Fore Snax and had once been the home of the first woman pilot, Edith Maud Cook, who was born here.”

Operating the Neptune Caf� during the building of the Salthouse Harbour Hotel extension had proved very difficult for Deborah, he added, but the pedestrian route to the quayside was now open again following the completion of the hotel.

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