Herald and Gazette Cafe of the Year winner is a true neighbourhood hub for Rustington

A cosy cafe where the owners take pride in being a neighbourhood hub has been voted Herald and Gazette Cafe of the Year by our readers.

The Honeypot Cafe in Rustington was opened five years ago by Michael Crayton and his mother Elizabeth Crayton.

Owners Michael Crayton and Elizabeth Crayton with the team outside The Honeypot Cafe in Rustington. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190018-1

Owners Michael Crayton and Elizabeth Crayton with the team outside The Honeypot Cafe in Rustington. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190018-1

They have a long history in the food industry and were looking for the perfect spot to open their own cafe.

See more: See inside our Herald and Gazette Cafe of the Year

Michael explained: “We were looking for a neighbourhood cafe, like the ones in Brighton but out of Brighton. We spent weeks driving around looking for somewhere that needed a neighbourhood hub of a cafe.

“In Rustington, you have got a mix of ages, families with children and the retired. We looked for a corner site and we wanted to be quite near the sea because we have a dog.

The cafe is a neighbourhood hub where strangers become friends. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190018-7

The cafe is a neighbourhood hub where strangers become friends. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190018-7

“We found Maisie’s and we saw potential. We thought ‘we could turn this into a nice cosy space’.

“It is very quirky but quirky works. It has evolved over time, we have brought in dining tables from home over the years, and we do table service, which is unusual for a cafe.

“It is like the Cheers bar, I know everyone’s name and new faces get immediate attention. People have made friends in here. They have come in on their own originally and now meet up regularly for breakfast. It is a special place.”

Elizabeth makes all the cakes, in fact the pair previously ran a cake manufacturing business which counted Fortnum and Mason, and Coutts among its customers.

The business was started from scratch from home in 2008 and grew rapidly. Michael and Elizabeth supplied delis, farm shops and cafés across the county and up to London, and would often be seen at the monthly farmers’ markets in Arundel and Shoreham.

Now, they are happy to be working together in their own café, Elizabeth in the kitchen and Michael ‘front of house’ greeting the customers.

Michael said: “We do a lovely afternoon tea, which creates a wonderful atmosphere in the afternoons.”

This should be booked in advance and is available from 2.30pm to 5pm. There are five selections on the menu, including one with prosecco for that extra special occasion.

There are also occasional special events in the evenings, when the restaurant is themed for the occasion and a set menu is served. Coming up is a Mexican Night on Friday, February 22, with the two-course dinner for £15 per person. Check The Honeypot Cafe Facebook page for full details and updates.

Runners-up in the Herald and Gazette Café of the Year were Mewsbrook Park Café in Littlehampton in second place and DeliBean, in Queens Parade, North Road, Lancing in third.

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