The Kettering East branch was a Little Chef restaurant located on the eastbound side of the A14 near Kettering, Northamptonshire.
Address and Onsite Information
ADDRESS: A14 Eastbound, Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN14 1RW
ONSITE FACILITIES: BP, Wild Bean Cafe (forecourt), M&S Simply Food (forecourt)
Opened in 1998, Kettering East was one of three restaurants to have opened on the A14-M1-A1 link, which had opened just a few years earlier. It was the first of a new generation of restaurants developed by Granada in a new look building. The building itself was manufactured off site and then transported and assembled onsite. This not only allowed for consistency of design but led to much quicker construction times, allowing, in theory, Granada to open more Little Chefs more quickly. The buildings themselves were brick finished with pitched roof, wood trimmed gable to front and slate coloured tiled roof.
Before Kettering East was built, the Kettering West Little Chef (located just opposite on the westbound side) was already operating in full swing, having opened a couple of years earlier in 1996/97. The opening of Kettering East created a new dual sided Little Chef site and both sides worked together to serve traffic on the busy A14 bypassing Kettering.
Out of the two Little Chefs at Kettering, it was evident that Kettering East received very little attention compared to Kettering West. For example, when Heston redeveloped Little Chef in 2009, Kettering West was one of three restaurants to have undergone a major refurbishment sporting the new Hestonised interior design. However, Kettering East never received a refurbishment of any kind and interior photos of the restaurant clearly show that it has been largely untouched since the Granada era.
After the closure of the dual sided Sutton Scotney Little Chefs in 2014, this left Kettering East and West as the only dual sided Little Chef site left in the country.
In 2017, the Little Chef at Kettering East closed as part of the Euro Garages takeover of the chain. It reopened as a Subway/Greggs site in Autumn 2017, although the Subway closed in early 2019, and the Greggs closed in late 2019, probably due to the provision of a Greggs and Subway at the nearby Rothwell services located a few miles to the west, which travellers were more likely to reach first.