This was going to be a Podcast but it seems that a new app I have started on has failed on me and cut out after 40 seconds, in spite of checking details and testing beforehand. So it is that I will rely on the transcripted questions and memory and rely on what I can from there and sincere apologies to all concerned.
I arrived shortly after a quarter to six in the evening and had a discussion with Gaby, the owner and Save Gaby's Deli campaigners Sara Nathan and Eleanor Lloyd. Gaby's Deli is a small eaterie just off Leicester Square and is L Shaped with room for about, what I'd guess is about fifty people, but is warm, cosy, and with a good selection of foods.
I started by asking for a brief background as to how the campaign started and the support they have been having. Sara immediately responded by referring to the letters and news article clippings supporting the campaign that are plastered over the shop walls and the high level of backing they have had, from people such as Miriam Margolyes, Simon Callow, Mary Portias, and a no of MP's, including the local MP Mark Field, who has thrown his backing into dealing with Gaby's plight. Concerns have also been mentioned by the Mayoral candidates, particually Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick The problem started when the Marquess of Salisbury decided not to renew Gaby's lease as he wants a the site to be part of a chain of restaurants. The lease has been extended into late summer but it still makes it difficult to plan ahead given the short notice. It is not as if Gaby's is not making any money either. It is one of the most popular Deli's in the West End and as Gaby told me, people from all over the World come here and love the place. Certainly it is popular among many who live, work, and visit the West End, as a place to eat and relax after a long day.
I asked them what they felt their chances are at the moment? The problem is I was told that everything is uncertain. They have a high level of support and a lot of signatures, but more needs to be done. More ideas are needed and Gaby's constantly needs more support. So if you have any ideas and contributions to give to the Save Gaby's Deli then please do! Their facebook page is called "Save Gaby's Deli" and the petition aclling for it to be saved can be found here
I finally asked what they's recommend to eat at Gaby's. Sara recommends the falafels, but both Eleanor and I rather like the Salt Beef sandwiches, which I have to say are really nice.All in all it would be a shame I think, so see a thriving business which has lasted some 47 years and has a cosy ambience, disappear into the abyss the way it seems to be ending up!