Austen's Cafe open for business

Sunday 24th September 2017 1:00 pm
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Alton mayor Dean Phillips cuts the ribbon to open officially Austen’s Cafe on Lenten Street, Alton, watched by owner Jonathan McDonald ()

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IT might be a place Jane Austen herself would have liked to take tea on her visits to the town, and she certainly would be flattered to have it named after her.

Located on Lenten Street in Alton, Austen’s, which was opened by town mayor Dean Phillips on September 11, also has a menu with dishes named after the famous author’s works.

On the walls are pictures of all her book titles and you can have a selection of afternoon teas, depending on the selection you choose, of either Emma, Cassandra or Darcy.

Owner Jonathan McDonald is already a well-known face in the town having worked in a café only a few doors down from his new premises.

“I am really excited to be opening my own café in Alton and building on the success of the Jane Austen 200 events we have had in the town throughout 2017,” he said.

Austen’s will be open from 9am to 6pm and offers a breakfast menu including eggs benedict until 11.30am, followed by lunches which range from panini and sandwiches to pizzas, salads, jacket potatoes and salads.

There is a children’s menu and then the variety of afternoon teas that come with a range of tempting cakes, and at the end patrons can have a glass of beer, cider or prosecco.

One stipulation is that afternoon teas must be booked in advance, and gift vouchers are available too.

Austen’s also provides a takeaway service of any of the foods on the menu which come under the heading – drinks, Sense and Sensibility; breakfast, Mansfield Park; pizzas and panini, Love and Friendship; salads Northanger Abbey; jacket potatoes Persuasion; and afternoon teas Pride and Prejudice. Everything is freshly prepared.

Jonathan said: “The people of Alton are so friendly and so there was no doubt in my mind that this is where I would want to open my own café.

“We will be providing slightly different food from the other lunchtime venues, and we’ll be rewarding our customers through a loyalty scheme that will include offers on both food and drinks.

“Austen’s is able to serve alcoholic drinks, and so I expect the prosecco cream teas to be very popular.”

Jonathan previously ran an independent deli and bistro in Guildford, before taking on a front-of-house role at a café. He hopes to open more cafes.

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