If you like cakes, ice cream and coffee, you’re in for a treat – because Watford’s new and improved The Cha Café reopens in its historic parkland home on Saturday.
The popular tea pavilion has been renovated as part of Watford Borough Council’s £6.6m restoration of Cassiobury Park, paid for by the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery funds. After a five-month refurbishment, the dining hotspot now has step-free access and flat paths for the disabled, a new children’s playground, terraced area, landscaped gardens and additional cycle parking. Plus its original drinking fountain – dating back to the Cha’s construction near the beauty spot’s Cassiobury Park Avenue entrance in 1925 – has been fully restored for visitors to enjoy
Proprietors Mandy and Brian Evans have poured thousands into new equipment for the cafe, including a Mr Whippy ice cream machine, state-of-the-art coffee machine and portable barbecue.
Brian, who joined the business full-time after leaving his job as an engineer a few months ago, said: “Mandy made cakes for the Cha’s previous owners for eight years. She loved it so much she took over the lease on the café when they left. We’ve been here since October 2014 and a lot of our customers have become our friends too. We’d love to see our old and regular friendly customers as well as some new customers when we reopen – we look forward to meeting you all on Saturday.”
Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: “I love the Cha Café and Mandy’s magnificent cakes. Cassiobury Park is an important part of Watford. We’re delighted to be bringing Watford’s favourite beauty spot back to its former glory from the days when it was home to the aristocratic Earls of Essex. Cassiobury Park a beautiful landmark in our town, and this work will make it even better.”
The opening of the Cha will be followed by the grand opening of Watford’s restored bandstand on Sunday 4 September, where celebrations will run from 1.30pm to 6pm. The bandstand has been returned to its original Cassiobury Park home, where it opened in 1912, from the town square near the Central Library, its home since the 1970s.