|Location||Rufus Stone, Lyndhurst|
The Stoney Cross branch was a Little Chef restaurant located on the westbound side of the A31 near Lyndhurst, Hampshire.
The facilities on site often name the site Stoney Cross. However, the services signs state that the site is called Rufus Stone.
The Little Chef first opened between 1987 and 1988 alongside a filling station and was positioned in one half of a large and grand building (the other half was home to a Travelodge hotel), taking over what used to be the Compton Arms Hotel. Little Chef's owners Forte saw this sort of venture as a great way to grow the brand as the use of existing buildings allowed a site to be established quickly, often without the time consuming elements of planning and construction. Sites which offer accommodation and restaurant have always worked well for Little Chef, giving more potential for breakfast and evening meal customers while those with a neighbouring petrol station also help to attract more custom. Stoney Cross was one of many Little Chef sites with these features so it had the chance to be a popular and successful branch.
Located in the heart of the New Forest, the Little Chef at Stoney Cross offered many fantastic views across the surroundings of this popular national park, giving diners a branch to enjoy. Due to its location next to the A31, a road prone to a lot of traffic travelling to the Dorset coast, Stoney Cross is a branch often used by holidaymakers travelling to the west country for a summer break as well as the hungry traveller who is on the hunt for an Olympic Breakfast!
In its Little Chef guise, Stoney Cross was a popular Little Chef site and seemed to do a good trade in its lifetime. Its visibility, attractive building and lack of alternatives on this section of the A31 were surely all contributing factors.
In the mid 2000s, Stoney Cross received a Coffee Tempo! outlet. However, this was short lived and was gone by 2011.
Back in March 2017, the Travelodge website stated that the Little Chef was "closed until further notice". The branch re-opened shortly after but has since closed. Stoney Cross was one of a number of sites to be converted to an EG Diner in January 2018. These sites are expected to be re-branded as another brand at a later date.