Popular Haverhill cafè continues to thrive as it comes of age

HAVERHILL: Huffers Cafe celebrating 21 years in business
Huffers Cafe, Menta Business Centre
The cafe is 21 years old this month. Owner Maggie Tuson and manager Rebecca Batts
Picture Mark Westley
HAVERHILL: Huffers Cafe celebrating 21 years in business Huffers Cafe, Menta Business Centre The cafe is 21 years old this month. Owner Maggie Tuson and manager Rebecca Batts Picture Mark Westley

When Maggie Tuson opened her café in Haverhill she only planned to stay for one or two years, but this month Huffers is celebrating its 21st anniversary.

Based in the Menta building in Hollands Road, Huffers is the only eat-in café on the industrial estate.

It opened in the first week of September, 1996, after Maggie moved to Haverhill from her home town of Colchester due to a business interest.

Said Maggie: “I was looking for something while my daughter was at college.

“I was going to go to Cambridge, but I saw someone who said ‘we are renovating these buildings’, and I had this one at the front because it was easy access.

“I was going to stay for a year or two at the most. Once my daughter finished college I was going to go home.”

But Huffers quickly built up a strong customer base and today many of those early customers continue to eat there.

Maggie, who employs Rebecca Batts as her manager and has one other part-time employee, has an in-bred love of food.

“Catering is in my family,” she said.

“My dad was a master chef, my grandfather, who was Greek, had two thriving tavernas, and my cousin used to cook for Mrs Thatcher years ago – so it runs in the blood.

“I love food. Ever since I was a child I used to cook.”

The café uses fresh, local produce, temperature probes everything and has a five-star hygiene rating.

Huffers also caters for allergies, gluten-free celiac diets, and for vegetarians.

It has free wi-fi and always has a collection for a charity, which is currently Jaybeth Animal Sanctuary.

It has a bread oven where all the baguettes are home-baked, as are its selection of pies, for which the pastry (except for puff) and fillings are all home made, too.

Maggie added: “I think you have to serve the food consistently good. It’s always consistently good and people say it’s the best breakfast for miles.

“We have the same customers from 20 years ago. If they come in once they always come back.”

Maggie thanked all her regular customers for their support over the years before adding: “I do enjoy it because if you don’t enjoy it, you might as well stop.”

Rebecca, who has worked for Maggie for five years, added: “It’s about the customers, without them we would not be here.”