After 23 years, cafe owner can now open longer
A CAFE owner is celebrating finally being granted longer opening hours – after a quarter of a century of being told "no".
When Ghullam Narimani bought Cafe 59, in Apsley Road, Clifton, in 1989 he never foresaw the problems ahead.
Despite being close to Whiteladies Road, Bristol City Council continually rejected applications to allow the family business to open later than 9pm in the evenings.
On one occasion Mr Narimani says he handed in a petition with more than 180 signatures supporting his application but was again stumped by 11 objections from local residents.
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The 61-year-old said it meant his dreams of running the property, which he has also run as Cafe Premiere and Rucola, as a bistro vanished as customers didn't come in the evening.
"It meant we had to take last orders at 7.30pm and nobody wants to have to order that early," he said.
"When I started out all those years ago I really didn't think it would be a problem. I can't believe that it has taken me 23 years to be able to successfully trade in the evening."
To celebrate now being able to trade until 10pm Mr Narimani is offering a menu featuring dishes from their original 1990 menu at 1990 prices until November 25.
These include his famous Blackstone eggs breakfast (poached eggs, English muffin, bacon, tomato and hash browns) for £4.95, or a lamb and prune tagine for £6.45.
Breakfast can be washed down with any variation of tea for £1 and dinner a bottle of beer for £2.25.
On November 25 Mr Narimani will be officially relaunching the establishment using the original name Cafe 59.
He has invited the whole of Apsley Road to the wine and buffet event as well as regular customers.
"I wanted to invite everybody so they can see for themselves what we are all about," Mr Narimani, of Stoke Bishop, said.
"This is a family-run business and in 23 years of trading I have not had to call the police once.
"I have customers who came here as children and now bring their children here – that is what we are all about."
It is amazing Mr Narimani is still running the business and for more than one reason.
Born in Iran he met his wife Maria in Bristol while he was studying and the couple intended to live in his home nation.
"I flew over from Iran in 1978 to pick up Maria and our first child Ella," he said. "We had bought a ticket to fly back to Iran just after Christmas and were about to go to Heathrow when we got a call to say all flights for Iran had been stopped because of strikes and demonstrations in Iran.
"The next time I made it home was in 2003 but it meant we stayed in Bristol and here I am."
The circumstances meant Mr Narimani and wife Maria, 57, ended up bringing up their children Ella, 34, Nadim, 25, and Leila, 20, in Bristol.
After buying the premises in 1989 and opening the following year it was soon honoured as a children friendly establishment and the future looked rosy.
"We have had to fight pretty hard to keep this business going. If it was not family run with everybody putting in something to keep it going I just don't think we could have survived.
"The staff have always been brilliant as well. There were weeks when they would not be paid but they kept going because they knew they would be and they believed in what we had here."