Public meeting called as 12,800 sign petition to support Parliament Hill Cafe and boycott Benugo chain
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
More than 12,800 people have signed a petition to save the Parliament Hill Cafe from being taken over by catering chain Benugo.
In a huge wave of protest, a public meeting has been called on Wednesday evening demanding that the City of London Corporation reverse its decision to throw out Alberto D’Auria, 70 and his family who have run the much-loved cafe for 33 years and hand over the three-year lease to the chain.
The petition, due to be handed in to the City of London Corporation this afternoon, says: “Parliament Hill Cafe has been family run for more than three decades, offering generous sized, freshly prepared meals to their customers without breaking their budgets.
“Family man, father of four and Savoy trained chef Alberto D’Auria has become a loved member of this community and at 70 years old is not ready to hang up his apron yet as he still has the same passion for providing a cost effective service as he has done for the past 33 years.
“Too many small businesses are failing in favour of large corporates, when we, as the general public should be encouraging and supporting those smaller businesses who are providing an a-star customer service over solely having the emphasis on profit margins. Therefore, help us to help Alberto maintain his position within Parliament Hill and to continue providing a great service loved by, not only local residents but visitors alike.”
Many of the 12,8 12,866 signatories are also calling for customers to boycott the cafe when it is taken over by Benugo in May.
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Supporters include former Spice Girl Mel C, rap star Professor Green and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.
Customer Naomi Peck said: “It is a wonderful and affordable family run cafe that has been dishing up pasta and cuppas for years. If they had consulted, they would have found out that people do not want another overpriced Benugo outpost with their lah-di-dah exorbitant approach.
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“Benugo will be boycotted if the plans go ahead. Say no to ‘Be-Nogo’”
Alberto D’Auria said he was overwhelmed by his customers reaction. “I am very angry and sad at the way we have been treated after so long and that its taken six months for them to decide. We have been improving our service and keeping prices low and keeping local people happy,” he said.
The public meeting is on April 6 at Highgate Library and Civic Centre, Chester Road, Dartmouth Park at 7:45pm,
A picnic protest has also been arranged next Sunday from 1pm at the Parliament Hill Cafe.