An Eastbourne cafe has been rated the best place to eat in the town coming into the new year.
According to Tripadvisor, Cafe 32 on South Street is the best restaurant in Eastbourne (as of Wednesday, December 29).
The cafe has a 5/5 rating from 119 reviews – including 106 ‘excellent’ comments.
Cafe 32 owner Julie Balding said, “I am very happy, it is a real accolade.
“I am very proud of it because it has been a real challenge.
“That, for me, makes it all worthwhile really.”
Ms Balding, who bought the cafe three years ago, said she is thankful to all customers who have left positive reviews.
She said, “I really appreciate people having a nice time there.
“We have had some parties and events that have got some great reviews so that is lovely.”
Ms Balding, who was in catering, said she thinks it is the ‘personal service’ and ‘good food’ that has made Cafe 32 so popular.
She said, “It is everything together and people experience it differently. We can have a party that goes really well or people can come in for afternoon tea.”
The cafe owner said the South Street business is her first since returning to the hospitality industry.
She added, “When people appreciate what we do it is lovely.”
The cafe, which is known for its ‘quirky’ design, is still evolving, according to the owner.
Ms Balding said, “I have always wanted my own tea shop or whatever and I suppose the decorations and the menu have really evolved to what I have picked up in charity shops and things like that.
“The main thing was evolving to what people will want.
“There is the afternoon tea and things like that which people love.”
Despite ending the year on a high, Ms Balding also spoke about the difficult period hospitality businesses had to go through during the pandemic.
She said, “I opened up, opened for a year, and going into my second year we had the pandemic.
“It has been pretty hard.
“With the rules that we had I am hoping we do not go back to the rule of six because that will completely ruin my business in the new year.
“If that comes into force again it means we cannot have those functions.
“We have been strict in regards to masks and seating and it is hard.
“We have got through it, we had a good summer, but now it is a bit of a worry.”