IT’s a magical escape from every day life and a warm, welcoming reception that makes Madhatters Tea Room in Kimberley so special.
The cafe, where a magical wonderland meets Victorian elegance, is now ranked second out of more than 1,000 eateries in Nottinghamshire, and owner Nygel Stevenson said it was down to the way his customers were treated and the fact that he offered something a bit different.
“It’s a little bit of wonderland in Kimberley. I don’t think there’s anywhere else like it,” he said.
“I set out to provide quality service and an escape from reality. They can come in and relax. It’s full of twinkly lights and madness and it’s an escape from every day life.”
Known locally as the madhatter, Nygel said he makes his customers feel ‘cherished’.
“You’ve got to be focused not just on the service but also making people feel special and welcome.
“We’ll chat to people about what’s going on in the community, make it a special experience for children, and we even introduce people to each other. Some people come back in the same time the following week to meet up again, so friendships are made in the shop.
“It’s making people feel wanted and telling them that their custom is cherished,” he added.
Another one of Nygel’s secrets is all the community work he has done in the town since opening his tea room two years ago, and how well he is known for it.
He has thrown himself into the community, helping people start new businesses in the town, hosting charity nights, table top sales and getting involved in key events in the town.
The 40-year-old, said hearing he was ranked second out of 1,064 restaurants in the county on Trip Advisor was an ‘incredible feeling’.
“Trip Advisor sent me an email to let me know last week,” he said.
“It was just an incredible feeling.
“The support we have had since opening has just been fantastic.”
Comments on Trip Advisor include ‘friendly, charming and perfect in every way’ and a ‘quirky wonderland’.
When the cafe opened it was run by just Nygel and his friend. Now it employs two full time members of staff and five part time workers, who are all local.
“It’s grown considerable and it’s just lovely how it’s evolved,” said Nygel.
The tea room sells lunches and light bites as well as its famous cakes, hosts popular tapas nights and is also hired out for private parties.
It featured on a channel four programme on adoption last week when new parents in Kimberley hosted a party at the cafe for their new little boy, Thomas.
Nygel, who has just been asked to be a community governor at Kimberley Primary School, is about to launch a calendar to help a friend raise some money for a hospital where her baby was still born.
He intends to host a competition asking people to draw their vision of what community spirit is in Kimberley, and use the pictures for the calendar which he will then sell, to help raise money for a room to be built at the hospital where distraught families can be cared for.
The cafe at Beauvale Priory is also now in the top ten in Nottinghamshire on Trip Advisor.