Eat Out To Help Out? ‘You go down Euston Road and it's just handfuls of people'

Cafe owner needs King's Cross and Euston to come back to life

Thursday, 6th August 2020 — By Tom Foot

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Paule Duran at the Pinner Cafe [Simon Lamrock]

SLAP-UP lunches and traditional full-English breakfasts are available half-price at a café under the government’s new “eat out to help out” scheme.

But despite the offer – designed to help struggling businesses come out of the lockdown – numbers have remained low at the Pinner Cafe in Chalton Street, Somers Town.

Paule Duran, who has run the normally thriving café for 20 years, said yesterday (Wednesday): “You just come in and get your food, and you each get a 50 per cent discount. To be honest it’s surprising how quiet it is because you’d think, half-price, that money would make a lot of difference to a lot of people.”

“Maybe they don’t know about it? Really the problem is no one is working in the area still. Offices have moved out and found systems of working from home, and there’s not much construction either. We need people to come back to the area. You go down Euston Road and King’s Cross – there used to be so many people, but now it’s just handfuls of people.

“There’s lots of elderly people who would come here too – but they are probably just going out doing their shopping and getting home.”

Mr Duran said he had to close for more than two months but is still being charged full rent by the council.

“They say they’ve got their services to pay for,” he added.

* Simon Pitkeathley, chief executive of business group Camden Town Unlimited, said of the eating out deal: “There’s certainly some positive noises about the scheme – maybe more than people were expecting. Anything that helps tempt people into Camden Town to spend money in our struggling businesses is very welcome.”

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