The history of the café
Now, you may have noticed that there are two coffee shops claiming to be the oldest in Europe, Queen’s Lane Coffee House, and The Grand Café. The Grand Café is known to be the site of the first coffee house in England (according to Samuel Pepys’ Diary, 1650), making it the Oldest, whilst Queen’s Lane, which opened in 1654, is said to be ‘The Longest Established Coffee House in Europe”. This means that Queen’s Lane has always been a coffee shop, since 1654, whereas the Grand Café has opened as many different types of businesses during that time, including a toy shop once. Both of us are proud to be cafes with historical value.
Queen’s lane has a funny story actually. Queen’s lane has always been a family business, and my family continued that tradition in 1982, when we family moved to England, from turkey. I was about 13 at the time, and I came over with my mum, my dad and my older brother.
My parents bought the business, and our whole life was the coffee shop. My brother and I were there after school every day, on weekends, and every holiday, and we all worked together. I guess you could say running the coffee shop is in my blood.
Over the years, a few more coffee shops opened and closed under our name, you might know café bonjour in Headington. Where Bubbleology now is on the high street, that was our sandwich shop.
There was one in Jericho too. Queen’s Lane Coffee House however, was our first, and is still proudly open to this day.
What’s pretty amazing is that Queen’s Lane is the longest established coffee house in Europe, it’s pretty mad when you think about it, but what’s extra special is that it’s a historical landmark which brings people from all cultures together. Our team is a fantastic mix of cultures, as am I, my kids are also a mix of Turkish, Brazilian and British, but I guess that pretty much represents most of Britain right now.
Queen’s lane has been in the family since I was thirteen, and every day we are still doing our best to offer our customers delicious teas and coffees, cakes, and also traditional British meals so that anyone who pops in gets to be a part of our little family. 40 years later, I’m still here, although sadly my mother and brother, who ran the place with me have passed away.
Come and visit us, have a chat with us. Try our delicious British and also home-made Turkish food and be part of this incredible piece of history.