The Alnwick branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the A1 near Alnwick, Northumberland.
The Little Chef, originally known as Brownieside and later North Charlton, was first opened between 1972 and 1976 by Forte. It was housed in a very distinctive long and narrow whitewashed building, similar to that of Fakenham in Kent which dates from the same era. Positioned roughly half way between Newcastle and the Scottish Border it was well located for long distance traffic, easily spotable and, being on a section of single carriageway, it was also really easily accessed. Originally it had a filling station built alongside it which would only have aided its appeal.
Sadly the early 90s were to bring change. The construction of a dual carriageway bypass alongside North Charlton, the small village which housed the Little Chef, took the traffic away from it and hid the Little Chef from the view of the motorist. This killed off the filling station yet still the restaurant seemed to survive. However, in 2004, then owners Permira put 131 branches up for sale and Alnwick was one of them. This was no surprise really but quite sad. The restaurant closed and has been abandoned ever since and now serves as little more than a breeding ground for birds. In 2012 plans were lodged to demolish the Little Chef and turn it into a cafe, gift shop and cookery school with adventure playground as part of it.
However, despite gaining planning permission, this is yet to happen. Today it remains boarded up with only its colouring and its "minimilk" car park lights hinting at its past.
A strange quirk of the site related to its map classification. From 1999, when the Forte numbering system stopped, then owners Granada reclassified the sites by geographical area, breaking the UK into 8 areas. Alnwick was always listed as a Scottish site even though it was in England, However, this may have been for sheer ease of showing it on a map, due to the line of the border.
In 2013, the Little Chef was finally demolished.