‘You really felt posh going there’ – your memories of Elizabeths’ heyday after Sunderland’s restaurant’s closure

Elizabeth's restaurant in Sunderland, which appeared to be closed.
Elizabeth's restaurant in Sunderland, which appeared to be closed.

Stories of top service and days out with grandparents are among the memories served up of Elizabeths restaurant.

The Bridge Street business has closed its doors and is now up for sale after its owners decided it was no longer viable due to the small number of customers it was serving.

It had been run by Michael Roche and his wife Mandy for the last 23 years after his father Sean bought the business from his friend and fellow Whitburn resident Stan James.

Stan, who also owned the Blackboard in Cleadon, had run its kitchen alongside his wife Doreen, while her sister Mena Bassett looked after the front of house.

Mena has been among those to get in touch with the Echo following our story about the closure.

She has explained how the business was a partnership between her late husband Frederick and her sister and brother-in-law and took its name from Stan’s mother, rather than Sean’s belief that it took its title from Stan and Doreen’s favourite restaurant in Coventry.

We had fantastic staff and some of them were there for a very long time.

Mena Bassett

Mena, who lives in Roker, said: “It was a fabulous place.
“It was like a home from home for some and I was proud to work there, and it was very much a family company and so different for me because I’d worked in fashion before.

“We had fantastic staff and some of them were there for a very long time.

“I remember we used to have queues down the street and I used to go out handing them menus and saying ‘Don’t worry, it won’t be long.’”

Among those who shared their memories of the restaurant was Heather Fagan, who said: “Such a shame - another independent business closed.

“It was very old fashioned inside and the food was very traditional so I can see why it’s closed, but this was also part of its charm.
“Customer service was always really good and they looked after their elderly customers.

“Someone please save the old till!”

Neil Gallon said: “Such a shame this was my Gran’s favourite place to eat for many decades, and in recent years myself and my family have gone regularly until we relocated last year. “My Gran passed away a few month ago I’m pleased she didn’t have to see it close down.

“Thank you to all the staff who served us over the years, wishing you all the very best for the future.”

Elaine Talbot said: “Sad to see it’s closing as it has holds so many wonderful memories.

“Remember visiting with my mam when it was Milburn’s - a special treat - felt really ‘posh’ going there.

“Ladies serving in their starched gleaming white aprons and little hats then the wonderful silver tea pots & first class service.

“It was a special treat.”

Claire Turner added; “What a shame this traditional restaurant is closing.

“I am the fourth generation of my family to have gone there.

“Vividly remember my 1st time there - a treat from my Gran and Granda, I thought I was so grown up aged about four.”

Kathleen Anderson said: “My son loved the baby dinners.

“Good wholesome mince with mash.

“The vegetable broth was to die for and the roast belly pork with crackling was sublime.

“Liver bacon and onions with fresh veg.”

Allen Laidler wrote; “It was twee: traditional and old fashioned, but sweet and nice.

“Lots of gaudy fast food, or cheap food places.... this was different.

“It was a special treat when my Mam used to take me there.

“End of an era.”

The freehold of the restaurant, which also includes a first floor storage room, is for sale via Andrew Craig with offers over £150,000 considered.