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Sad cafe as Mick fries his last big breakfast
A FAMOUS Oxford cafe owner has had to hang up his greasy spoon.
Mick Harris of Mick’s Cafe in Cripley Road, off Botley Road, has been forced to retire following illness as his family struggled to finance running it.
A sign appeared on the door on Monday saying the cafe was closed until further notice. Last night Mr Harris, 72, confirmed his retirement to the Oxford Mail, thanking his customers.
He said: “To all our customers, thank you for your support over the years. I have now decided to retire.
“Though my family and staff made a massive effort to keep the business going, unfortunately adequate funds could not be raised to run it any longer.
“We will have a breakfast farewell party in the spring to thank our patrons.”
The cafe has been open for 27 years, and while he is leaving the business Mr Harris hopes to keep active.
He even intends to keep on rocking in his band Move It with his son Anthony.
In his music career he has performed alongside Sir Cliff Richard, Gene Vincent, Screaming Lord Sutch, The Shadows and more.
He was also a member of band State Affair, winners of TV talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1978.
Wife Stephanie said that the retirement would allow him to get on with other activities.
She said: “He’s going to be really busy and will have lots on. As well as his band he will be decorating, gardening, playing bowls and going to the pub.” Mr Harris has four children, Anthony, Jennifer, Carol and Wendy. He also has five grandchildren, two step grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Mrs Harris added: “He was hoping to leave the cafe to his daughter Jennifer but they just ran out of funds. “He wouldn’t have had anything to retire on and was just too tired to work on.”
Other traders say they will miss breakfast there.
Joe Devlin, 51, of Eggs Eggsetera in Botley Road, supplied Mick’s eggs.
He said: “I have been to a few Oxford United football matches with him over the years. The time we went to Swansea was a particular highlight. I would like to wish him all the best on his retirement.”
Candy Chu, manager of the One Bar in Botley Road, 25, said: “People will be sad to see it go. It is a lovely place to go for breakfast.”
Phil Rivers, manager of Pack and Send in Botley Road added: “To see a local business close is really sad.”
Some other more unusual visitors may also miss the cafe in the spring.
Each year, a troupe of ducks make an early morning waddle to the venue.
The tradition is so regular that Mr Harris takes their visit as a sign of summer.
Building owner the Oxford Diocese was last night unable to say what will happen to the premises.
A HISTORY OF MICK'S CAFE
- Mick’s Cafe first opened in 1986. Owner Mick Harris set it up with his sister Pauline Howell and brother-in-law Richard Howell.
- His wife Stephanie Harris later joined the team, together with other members of the family.
- Ten years later his daughter Jennifer entered the business.
- The cafe has often been at the forefront of a changing society.
- In 1994, actors James Villiers and Jeremy Piven shot scenes at the cafe for the movie E=mc2.
- In 2007, customers were given a glimpse of things to come when the venue trialled a no smoking day to prepare people for the ban.
- In 2010, a poll by Marks & Spencer claimed the average cost of a bacon sandwich in Oxford was £2.85, compared to a national average of £2.18. But Mick demonstrated a more competitive streak, selling his bacon sarnies for £2.20.
- In 2012, the Oxford Mail reported on the troupe of ducks which had visited the cafe on a morning every year for 15 years.