WHAT’S MR MORRIS UP TO?
JOHN Morris’s train just keeps on rolling, with news this week that he has turned the old St Crispins train stop into a fully functioning café with quite big ambitions.
Choo Choos Café opens today, the culmination of a remarkable two-month renovation that has seen the recommissioning of its kitchens and other facilities, the addition of a new deck to replace the old rotting one, and the substantial landscaping of the immediate area to create a tropical idyll of water, plants, and the adjacent golf course.
Rupert Sakora, formerly of QT Resort, is in charge of the café during its set up stage but will shortly move on. Mr Morris is now seeking an experienced and motivated couple or team, ideally locals, to take over management of the cafe on a long-term basis.
For now the café will run seven days a week from 7 am till 4 pm – “obviously catering for the trains, but it’s also going to be a great spot for people just to come and chill out,” Mr Sakura said.
John Morris, who has owned the renowned Bally Hooley railway for about a decade, said he had recently acquired land around St Crispins station that had been in receivership for eight years.
He has planted a thousand native shrubs and laid new turf. A new bridge will be built soon to allow visitors to cross over the water course that the station sits above to new grassed areas on the opposite bank complete with waterfall and kids area.
It’s intended to be become a shady spot with more chairs and tables in what promises, all up, to make the little vintage railway station just about one of the most picturesque you could ever find.
“We want to make sure it’s a place for locals,” Mr Morris said. “Because if they come they will bring the visitors.”
Just a couple of months ago the building was shabby and the surrounding area overgrown.
“It looks great now,” said Rupert Sakora.
“This is going to be the spot to sit and relax, have a great cup of locally roasted coffee and enjoy the view.
“It’s a great place for locals. Great for families. In the mornings there are many people walking around here, and now they can drop in here.”
Mr Sakora said that after a while it was envisaged a chef would be in the kitchens and the aim was for the café to offer evening meals with an expanded menu.
The café has applied for a liquor licence.
Rupert Sakora and John Morris welcome the Mowbray engine to the new cafe Choo Choos, at St Crispins