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Kavanagh’s Tea Room in Church Street, Oakham to close

A couple is bidding goodbye to a popular tea room as they embark on a new chapter of business life.

In 2017 Martyn Baynes and Clare Kavanagh opened Kavanagh’s Tea Room in Church Street Oakham after months of renovation.

Clare, who has had coeliac disease for 17 years, spent many years struggling to find the right foods to eat so used Kavanagh’s to offer an extensive range of gluten-free food which appeals to everyone.

Clare Kavanagh and Martyn Baynes, owner of Kavanagh's (43113679)
Clare Kavanagh and Martyn Baynes, owner of Kavanagh's (43113679)

Clare said: “I had wanted to do something like this all my life and Martyn had been in the industry with previous jobs. When we met, we had that in common.

“I had been poorly in 2016; I had a heart condition and spinal surgeries.

“I just remember Martyn saying ‘why don’t we do what we want, if not now then when?’

Clare Kavanagh and Martyn Baynes
Clare Kavanagh and Martyn Baynes

“That was the first time anyone said let’s go for it and that it’s a good idea.

“Having him with me on this journey made me realise I could do this.”

After opening Kavanagh’s ,Martyn worked on the chef side of the business as Clare managed front of house and baking.

Clare said: “It’s just been such a joy - meeting everybody has been wonderful.

“We are so lucky as Oakham is such a wonderful place and from the moment we got here we were made welcome. I think it’s just a special place.”

However, after a difficult year with lockdown forcing them to close for months, the pair have decided to close the tea room to focus on supplying.

Clare said: “It’s hard, because we have put everything into it. Every quirky thing in there is a mixture of Martyn and my personalities and the things we love.”

She added: “We took the decision back in June because with how the year had been and how the Oakham footfall had changed over the last couple of years.

“We had been doing an awful lot of supply for hotels and cafés; it’s kind of hard to do both.

“When we had to close down for Covid it was really difficult but we found supplying helped.”

The couple is now renting the professional kitchen in Victoria Hall Oakham to make a range of gluten-free products which they supply to the Burghley House Orangery, Cafe au Chocolate in Stamford and Orbis Oakham. They plan to expand the businesses they supply to and hope to provide food in supermarkets too.

Home-baked food - including their signature afternoon teas - is also available on their website www.kavanaghstearoom.com.

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