South Croydon Food Festival set to bring in the crowds
THE Support Our Shops campaign is raising awareness of the hidden gems to be found on our high streets. This week, Sarah May Hayes reports from South Croydon
THE restaurant quarter in South End is one of the most celebrated parts of the borough, with people from all over Croydon and beyond visiting to eat the many cuisines on offer.
The upcoming food festival is also sure to increase South End's popularity, but some fear the area has become too saturated with restaurants and eateries, and is in need of a few more shops.
Alfonso Camisotti, chairman of the South Croydon Business Association and owner of the Audio Centre in South End, loves the area he has worked in for more than 40 years but feels more shops are needed.
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He said: "The trouble is from one end of this road to the other it is all restaurants, except for a few bars and specialist shops. That is what the area is known for now, it is known as the restaurant quarter.
"This isn't a bad thing; I like the restaurant quarter and there is every kind of food available here of very good quality.
"But if there were more shops there would be more people around the area in the daytime and more footfall, which would mean more business for the few shops here.
"Most people now come to South End during the evening or night to eat. It's great but has perhaps become a little lopsided."
William Allen, 20, who works at Martin Phelps music shop in South End thinks the area could do with more variety.
He said: "We have got five curry houses alone along here, which does seem pretty ridiculous. Who can eat that much curry?
"Maybe even if there were more shops, more people would find out about all the restaurants and come to eat here too?
"It's good to have an area like this but no one comes down here unless they want to eat so more variety could be a good thing."
Others, however, told the Advertiser they thought South Croydon's reputation as the borough's restaurant heartland is a good thing.
Linda Arthur, secretary of the South Croydon Business Association and owner of Bar Txt in South End, said: "We really are like a family here, we're always popping in and out of each other's places and even though we're having a food festival, the shops in the area have been very involved in the planning as well.
"There are quite a few empty places in the area now so maybe it would be nice for them to be filled with new shops, but I love the fact that Croydon is big enough to have a 'quarter' like this.
"I have been to lots of other places and had a look at what they had on offer but here it's a lot more varied and there is so much more choice."
- The South Croydon Food Festival takes place in South End on April 15, from 11am to 4pm.