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'I get bored very quickly': Restaurateur swaps pizza place for coffee bar after career break

PUBLISHED: 17:11 01 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:15 02 December 2019

Desmond Baldry, pictured here in 2016, closed his restaurant in Lowestoft in July 2019 to go travelling. He has now returned to open a new coffee and pie shop in London Road South. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Desmond Baldry, pictured here in 2016, closed his restaurant in Lowestoft in July 2019 to go travelling. He has now returned to open a new coffee and pie shop in London Road South. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A popular restaurateur who closed his Lowestoft site earlier this year to travel and spend time with his family has returned with a new venture.

Dr Johnson's Coffee Shoppe, in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Desmond BaldryDr Johnson's Coffee Shoppe, in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Desmond Baldry

Desmond Baldry, who closed his restaurant in Kirkley in July after winning a £100 bet that he could keep it open for 10 years, has returned to open a new coffee and pie shop in London Road South.

Dr Johnson's Coffee Shoppe will officially open on Tuesday, December 3.

Mr Baldry said: "I went and did what I wanted to do. I visited Scotland and Wales and places around the country and met up with lots of family.

"I came back but I get bored very quickly. I knew I didn't want to open another restaurant because that is a lot of hard work and I am going to be 55 this year.

Dr Johnson's Coffee Shoppe, in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Desmond BaldryDr Johnson's Coffee Shoppe, in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Desmond Baldry

"I don't think it's a good idea to keep going at that pace.

"I thought about what I had in storage and saw this building was available in town.

"This is somewhere people can come and read and I can relax.

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"I am quite enjoying it already."

Inspired by Robbie Coltrane's character in Blackadder, Dr Johnson's Coffee Shoppe will also serve traditional pies, as well as hosting a monthly pizza day, marking a return for the popular dish which made Desmonds such a much-loved restaurant in the town.

Mr Baldry said: "We had a fabulous time as Desmonds and I have been badgered to do more pizzas, so I will, but only once a month.

"I am quite a social person so this is just somewhere I can go.

Mr Baldry closed his pizza restaurant in July after 10 years of business. 

PHOTO: Nick ButcherMr Baldry closed his pizza restaurant in July after 10 years of business. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

"I wasn't sure it would work but then I was told my restaurant wouldn't work and I stayed for 10 years.

"I am lost without a place for people to come in, and the response has been staggering.

"There are so many places like this that have closed down sadly.

"We used to have a glut of coffee bars but they seem to have all gone."

After only collecting the keys to the shop on November 6, and waiting a further two weeks while electrical engineers and plumbers worked, Mr Baldry has been busy redecorating in the run-up to Tuesday's official opening.

Mr Baldry, who previously represented Kirkley on Lowestoft Town Council, hosted countless fundraisers and charity events at his former restaurant, including opening their doors on Christmas Day in 2017 to ensure those in need received a hot meal.

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