Top-rated restaurant to close - 10 years to the day since it opened
PUBLISHED: 16:51 14 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:48 15 July 2019
A popular restaurant which has helped those in need and raised thousands for charities is to close 10 years to the day that it opened.
Desmonds, in Lowestoft, will serve its final meal on Friday, July 19, with owner Desmond Baldry preparing for new adventures.
The restaurant, which has regularly featured in Tripadvisor's top 10 in the town, has been inundated over the years with thank you letters from the countless charities and causes it has helped, many of which hail the site as a iconic institution in the town.
Mr Baldry, who previously represented Kirkley on Lowestoft Town Council, said: "I am amazed to see us described as an icon.
"The penny dropped when I ran for local councillor and I got in by a landslide.
"Everyone has a personal history, and mine is that I was fostered as a child. I found my family and I want to spend more time with them.
"There's some in Felixstowe and some in Dorset, and I am trying to find my real father, which takes up a long time and a lot of money."
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The restaurant, in London Road South, first opened in response to a dare from a friend.
Mr Baldry said: "I first opened a place down the road 10 years ago after I moved to Lowestoft from Bristol.
"I had three restaurants in Bristol and my friend told me I wouldn't be able to make it work here because it just wasn't the same.
"He bet me £100 that it wouldn't work, so on Saturday I get to collect that after 10 years.
"Now a lot of my customers say they can't get a better pizza for miles. It takes three hours to make the dough and when they're gone, they're gone."
As well as hosting fundraisers and events for local charities, the restaurant also opened its doors on Christmas Day in 2017 to ensure those in need received a hot meal.
Mr Baldry said: "There is a lot I still want to do. I have had a fantastic time and I have been so lucky with my customers and my staff, some of who have been with me for nine years.
"I have got myself a motorbike and paints and I am going places I have never been, to see people I have never met."
Staff past and present will be joined by invited guests on Saturday, July 20, for a celebration evening to mark the closure.