Cab driver opens up world war-themed cafe in Manor Park

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 January 2017

Paul Charters at his cafe Poppy Pantry

Paul Charters at his cafe Poppy Pantry


Are you a world war buff or a food fanatic? You might want to pay the Poppy Pantry a visit.

New cafe Poppy Pantry has opened its doors New cafe Poppy Pantry has opened its doors

Black cab driver Paul Charters, 48, ditched the capital’s traffic to create his own poppy-themed world war cafe, in Aldesbrook Road, Manor Park last month.

The well travelled history buss, who lives in Wanstead, wanted a career change and “just had enough” of working as a cab driver after 25 years in the business.

“I have always been interested in history, I’ve been all over the world visiting battlefields.

“The furthest I’ve been is Rorke’s Drift in South Africa and I’ve also been to places like Monte Cassino in Italy, as well as all over Europe to battle grounds like Dunkirk and Normandy.”

Paul, who has run more than 18 marathons for a number of different charities including Help for Heroes and The Bobby Moore Fund, is delighted to be fulfilling a dream.

“I never really liked driving a cab. I think this is lots of people’s dream.”

The cabbie received a lot of guidance and help to get the cafe off the ground, after he put in an application in September.

“The florist here, Debbie, helped me get this place and Docklands Catering helped as well because I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing and they completely fitted me out,” he said.

The cafe, which employs three people, is filled with poppy themed table mats, posters, photos and mugs.

“It’s got a lot of potential and being able to do wakes as well – it helps out if the cafe is quiet.

“I must admit I got some financial help from my dad to start up, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

The cafe is open every day from 9am to 3.30pm. Call 07931 788027 for more information.


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