By Joe Wayte
When Phil and wife Chantal decided to move into their corner plot on Keymer Road, they heard the cries from the people of Hassocks hoping it wouldn’t be ‘yet another coffee shop’. While during the day you can turn up any time for a quick beverage and a bite to eat, Friday nights at Bella & Megs are quite different, and if you haven’t already booked, you’ll need to join the waiting list.
In April 2018, Bella & Megs café and bistro opened its doors for the first time. The sun was shining, prosecco was on tap and many locals showed up to see what owners Phil and Chantal had done with the place. “It was very white when we first acquired the shop,” Chantal explained, “so we decided to do a refit. I wanted somewhere that felt homely, yet rustic and modern.” The launch was a huge success and, after twelve months in business, the pair are pleased with how things are going.
Originally from Newick, Phil started his career in stage management at the theatre in Worthing. After ten years of commanding crew behind the scenes, he decided he was ready for his next challenge and turned his hand to hospitality. “I went into training with the British Institute of Innkeeping,” Phil told me, “and then advertised myself locally when I was ready to take on a job.” Phil received an offer shortly after and moved to Poynings to work at the Royal Oak. It was there that he met Chantal, who grew up in the village.
This isn’t the first time the duo have gone into business together. For a number of years they ran Dolly’s Pantry in Ditchling, which they sold in 2007.
[Read the full article in the May 2019 issue of Hassocks Life magazine]