September 28, 2011
September 28, 2011
Since 1965, Londoners and visitors alike have savoured the salt beef and fluffy falafel served up by Gaby’s Deli on Charing Cross Road. Run by Gaby Elyahou, a Brent resident for four decades after arriving in London from Israel, the delicatessen has become a local institution adored for its unique spirit and tasty fare amidst an alternative spread of chain cafes and boxed sandwiches.
News surfaced this month, however, that Gaby’s will close on 1 May to make way for redevelopment by Gascoyne Holdings. Regular customers are dismayed and the Evening Standard has added Gaby’s to its ‘Save Our Small Shops’ campaign in a bid to keep it open. In recent days, a Facebook page has been set up that has so far attracted 1300 supporters. As is so often the case in London, it seems the smaller and quirkier the institution, the greater people’s passion for it. Indeed the campaign to save Gaby’s has echoes of a similar call a few years ago to support the much-loved independent bookshops and map sellers in neighbouring Cecil Court, who I assisted in their vigorous campaign over business rates.
It is not within a Member of Parliament’s remit to interfere in commercial matters or make decisions on local planning matters. However, when I served on the Bill Committee for the 2004 Licensing Act, I was a firm supporter of small, independent retailers and have long made the case that they are part of the charm, spirit and great history of the capital. As such, I have written to Gascoyne Holdings to make them aware of the many letters I have received from Gaby’s devoted customers and to ask that they do what they can to accommodate this marvellous, much loved delicatessen in their future plans for the site. It would be wonderful to see this London institution flourish for many years to come.