July 31 2014 Latest news:
Monday, May 12, 2014
There have been many developments in Norwich city centre over the last 40 years with new shops and businesses opening and changes to the skyline.
And one man has witnessed it all from his restaurant window at 2a Exchange Street.
However, Norwich will witness the end of an era today when Ronald Squires hands over the keys to the venue he has been running for the last 43 years.
The businessman opened the family-run Le Bistro in the city centre in 1971 with his late wife Brenda.
Over the years, he has witnessed the pedestrianisation of Gentleman’s Walk, has seen Norwich Market redesigned twice and the construction of a new library.
But the 75-year-old said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family when he sells the French and English cuisine restaurant to new owners.
Mr Squires, of Grove Avenue, Norwich, said that when Le Bistro first opened across two levels, with more than 50 covers, there were only two restaurants in the area.
“There were no pizza places when we opened and we always felt we were good competition because we served good cooked meals. A lot of our customers have stayed with us over 30 years,” he said.
Mr Squires said he used to open seven days a week, but wound down to serving on two evenings a week in recent years. His daughters, Deborah, Kim and Lisa, have all worked in the restaurant. He added that he would be retiring with happy memories of his time at the helm, which has seen Le Bistro host many wedding receptions.
“There are lots of fond memories. We have seen everything here. We saw the Queen open the Forum, there were the Jubilee parades and fireworks and the market has changed,” he said.
Le Bistro is set to close for a short time for a refurbishment before reopening in a few weeks time with the same name under new ownership.
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