|Location||Beacon Hill, Ipswich|
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: A14/A140 Junction, Beacon Hill, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP6 8LP
ONSITE FACILITIES: Shell, Deli2Go (forecourt), Costa Express (forecourt), Burger King, Greggs, Travelodge (Book Room)
The site was first built in the late 1980s by Little Chef's rival chain, Kelly's Kitchen, and was located at the junction of the A45 (now A14) and the A140 just outside of Ipswich. The site was a joint venture between a Brewing Company, who operated the restaurant, and Petrofina, an oil company who operated the forecourt. This was one of only 18 Kelly's Kitchens/ Petrofina sites operating across the UK. Kelly's Kitchen restaurants were very distinctive, housed inside of buildings with an overhanging roof, cottage styled windows and a large funnel-like chimney built into the site and the roof.
In 1989/90, Forte were on the hunt to expand the Little Chef chain and therefore decided to buy out Kelly's Kitchen and rebrand all 18 restaurants as Little Chef, resulting in a rival brand being removed from the roadside. By 1992, Forte had added a Travelodge to the site in order to cater for tired travellers and by 1995, the time when Granada took over Little Chef from Forte, a Burger King was added to the site in order to provide a second restaurant option for travellers.
In the 90s, the A45 between Cambridge and Felixstowe was re-numbered the A14 following the opening of the A14 M1-A1 link.
In 2015, the Little Chef at Beacon Hill, like many others, received a minor refresh where most of the existing furniture was replaced, most notably the tables and chairs.
An interesting feature of Beacon Hill services was a sign by the exit which indicated that the next Little Chef was 7 miles away at Stowmarket. However, this was removed in 2012 when Stowmarket ceased trading, but wasn't removed completely until 2015/16 because the Burger King logo replaced the black text.
In its Little Chef days, Beacon Hill was a popular site, therefore it was able to escape the long list of closures between 2001 and 2012. However, following the takeover by Euro Garages in 2017, Beacon Hill was one of a number sites converted to an EG Diner in January 2018 due to the expiration of Euro Garages' right to use the Little Chef brand name, therefore ending Little Chef's presence at Beacon Hill.
In October 2018, all remaining EG Diners closed down including the branch at Beacon Hill. The site was later refurbished and saw the opening of a new Greggs outlet alongside a newly refurbished Burger King. However, unlike most other newly refurbished EG sites, where the totem signs were replaced with EG Group ones, the totem signs at Beacon Hill were not changed, therefore still featuring removed Little Chef signage.