|Location||Newmarket Heath, Newmarket|
The Newmarket North branch is a current Little Chef restaurant located on the northbound side of the A14 near Newmarket, Suffolk.
Opened originally by Forte as a Happy Eater in the 1980s, Newmarket North was one half of a dual sided Happy Eater site with Newmarket South, located directly opposite on the southbound side, making up the other half. Both opened around the same time. In the 1980s, there wasn't really a variation of roadside restaurant chains on Britain's road network, it was only really Little Chef and Happy Eater (but Happy Eater wasn't very popular). Therefore in order to make Happy Eater more recognisable and give more of a restaurant choice to travellers, Forte had decided to expand the Happy Eater chain across the country as well as expanding Little Chef of course. The two sites at Newmarket were given Happy Eaters (as explained above) and they were both built alongside filling stations and were housed in identical buildings.
Around 1993, Forte hatched a plan to change all Happy Eaters to Little Chefs as the brand made more money. Both Newmarket branches had joined the Little Chef ranks by 1997. They continued to soldier on happily in this way.
Now, the Little Chefs at Newmarket were built at a very clever location as not only was it able to serve one route but it managed to serve two! The services were positioned on a stretch of the A14 between two junctions of the A11, one located to the north and the other to the south, therefore travellers on the A11 would have to use this stretch of the A14 in order to get from one A11 junction with the A14 to the other. This was beneficial for the Little Chefs as this gave the restaurants the chance to attract double the amount of custom to the sites compared to if it was just the A14 alone. Also, the A11 and A14 are major long distance/holidaymaker routes, therefore the chances of attracting extra custom to the sites had increased even more. Even the adjacent filling stations helped with attracting additional custom to the sites!
Sadly in 2007, an upset was to occur as the Newmarket South Little Chef had ceased trading when Little Chef's then owners, the People's Restaurant Company were taken into administration and were forced to close 41 Little Chef sites, one of which was Newmarket South. This left Newmarket North to soldier on alone.
Happily, the Little Chef at Newmarket North is still operating today and after being derelict for a while, Newmarket South was turned into a Starbucks when Eurogarages had bought the southbound service station.