The Baldock branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the southbound A1 near Hinxworth, Bedfordshire.
ADDRESS: A1 Southbound, Hinxworth, Bedfordshire, SG7 5EX
ONSITE FACILITIES: Cotey's, Redwing's Lodge (Book Room )
For more information, visit Motorway Services Online
Housed in a large red-roofed roadhouse-style building, the restaurant opened as a Happy Eater in the early to mid 1980s. However, the building easily predates this and had probably been some sort of roadside cafe before that. Being next to a busy BP filling station, this made the site a good bet as it should help to attract extra custom. Following Forte's acquisition of Happy Eater in 1986, a Forte Travelodge was added to the site in 1989. In 1996/7, then owners Granada decided to turn the Happy Eater into a Little Chef - a process instigated by their predecessors Forte around 1993 - as Little Chef made more money. Thus in 1996/7, Baldock Happy Eater became Baldock Little Chef. In doing so, it then became one half of a Little Chef double, complimenting the existing Little Chef at Astwick, just opposite on the northbound A1.
Change came in 2004/05 when one half of the pair, Astwick, was closed leaving Baldock to soldier on alone. A few years prior to this Extra, a Motorway Service Area operator, opened a site at the Baldock junction (A1(M) J10) just slightly further south and, given that it offered more facilities and traffic would reach it before they got to Astwick, this probably hurt its trade. Baldock however had the lodge and had the advantage of coming before the new services for southbound traffic so its future looked more promising.
However, in 2010, the news came that Baldock Little Chef would close too and two suddenly became zero. By 2013, probably owing to the lack of an onsite food offering, the Travelodge had shut up shop too.
In 2014, the former Travelodge became a Redwings Lodge branch. Having stood empty for a number of years, the Baldock Little Chef finally reopened as a restaurant known as Cotey's in 2019.