TWENTY new jobs have been created at an old-fashioned business right in the middle of Beverley. Chip shop couple Stuart and Vanessa Barker departed from the frying trade to open a delicatessen and café called Vanessa in Saturday Market. For the past 20 years, the Barkers have been building up their empire of fish and chip shops. Mr Barker will stick with the fish shops while his wife runs the new venture.

The new shop aims to be a mini Fortnum and Mason's selling locally sourced produce. Mrs Barker said: "On the face of it, this is a departure from what we've done before but the reality is Stuart and I are both foodies at heart and always wanted somewhere where you could buy things you couldn't normally get from your local supermarket." Vanessa occupies former newsagent's premises in a prime position in Saturday Market, Beverley, and opened in May after extensive renovation and remodeling. Downstairs is a delicatessen with more than 50 cheeses, a traditional butchery counter, cured meats and preserves. Upstairs is a 51-seat café. The premises was originally two shops and many of the old features, including plasterwork and original fireplaces, have been revealed during the restoration. "We even found the remains of an old bread oven downstairs from when there was a bakery here," said Mrs Barker.

The couple, of Driffield, are best known for their seven fish and chip shops at locations in East and North Yorkshire. Ten years ago they expanded with a fish restaurant alongside the original chip shop in Middle Street South, Driffield. Mrs Barker is delighted the new deli business has been able to create 20 jobs, three-quarters of them full-time, with two experienced butchers manning a meat counter. Despite only opening recently, the business has already been shortlisted for a major award as one of the finalists competing in the North and East Yorkshire Building Excellence Awards, sponsored by a partnership of local authorities in the area.
When Market Cross News closed it left Beverley without a town centre newsagent's shop. Val Holmes, who ran the newsagents with her husband Nigel for 14 years, said the couple had been pleased to deal with the Barkers and wished them well in the new venture. Mrs Holmes said: "I've sent them a card saying I hope they're successful." Since Vanessa opened, a new Mace newsagents has also opened up next door. It means Beverley shoppers can get papers and supplies as well as a lunchtime sandwich.

Hull Daily Mail
By Jon Townend