Garage business in Kineton that has stayed in the family for 100 years has found a new life - as a cafe

A Kineton business run by the same family for more than 100 years has transformed itself into a garage-themed cafe.
The Gilks' Garage Cafe team.The Gilks' Garage Cafe team.
The Gilks' Garage Cafe team.

Gilks' Garage Cafe opened for business Thursday November 14 as a 'destination cafe'.

Keith Gilks opened the cafe with his wife, Linda, and their two children, Katherine and Thomas.

The family has kept much of the original equipment from the garage and turned it into a cafe with a diner-style atmosphere.

The Gilks' Garage Cafe team of employeesThe Gilks' Garage Cafe team of employees
The Gilks' Garage Cafe team of employees

An original Esso petrol pump sits just inside the front door of the cafe along with an original Rootes sign nearby. Black and white pictures showing the development of the family business cover some of the walls inside the cafe.

Keith added: "It's all authentic from the history of the site. It's nice the building has been saved and has a real purpose.

"It's continuing to be a family business now in the fifth generation with my children."

The family-run business dates back to 1904 when Keith's great-grandfather, George Gilks (known as Toby) moved to the area and opened a blacksmiths shop out of the back of their home in the Market Square of Kineton.

Gilks' Garage Cafe in KinetonGilks' Garage Cafe in Kineton
Gilks' Garage Cafe in Kineton

They later moved to the current location in Banbury Road where they bought an acre of land and started their farm repair business in 1949.

Keith said: "They started out repairing farm equipment and then went into the motor trade.

In 1958 they became a Rootes Motors dealership, and installed petrol pumps. They later became a local independent garage.

Keith's father, Gordon Gilks, ran the independent garage until 1996 when he retired and the shop closed.

A static display of man working on an original 1956 Ford 300 E work van that the Gilks family used at garage.A static display of man working on an original 1956 Ford 300 E work van that the Gilks family used at garage.
A static display of man working on an original 1956 Ford 300 E work van that the Gilks family used at garage.

Keith added: "I joined the business as a mechanic in 1982, and left in 1988 to work full time with the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service."

For a while the garage building remained vacant until they managed to change the use from workshop to storage and rented it out.

Keith added: "When the last tenants left and we had a lot of offers from developers, but we valued the place and thought it'd be a shame that a place that's been in the village and family for so long to be flattened.

After Keith retired from the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service his family decided to turn the garage building into a cafe.

He added: "We came up with the idea to make it a destination cafe."

Keeping up with its automotive theme the cafe offers charging bays for electric cars too.

The cafe offers bicycle parking, along with the use of free cycle locks for cyclists.

The cafe offers usual cafe food ranging from a full English breakfast to a jacket potato to freshly made sandwiches.

The cafe offers two options for a full English breakfast, which includes the Full Service with two sausages, two pieces of bacon, two eggs and two hash browns along with the Interim Service option which has one of each breakfast item.

People can order a MOT off the menu and get a Mug Of Tea.

There are plenty of options off the Mini Mechanics menu for children.

The sausage and bacon used at the cafe is locally sourced from the village butchers - H C Lewis Butchers.

They also offer a take-away service with pre-prepared sandwiches for customers, including students from the nearby Kineton High School.

The baked goods such as flapjack are freshly made, and the coffee is locally sourced from nearby Stratford by the Monsoon Estates Coffee Company.

The family hopes to set up a dementia cafe at the location in the near future.

Keith added: "We're looking forward to serving the local community and beyond."

The cafe is open from 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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