A nurse from Stalybridge is enjoying a sudden career change after opening a tearoom in Droylsden… on a Narrowboat!
Maria Smart (pictured above with her son, Philip) has opened the Safari Narrowboat Tearoom on Droylsden Marina, with her partner, Lee, a retired fire fighter.
The couple already owned a 40ft Narrowboat, which they use for breaks and weekends away, but Maria’s love of all things vintage led to their new business venture.
“It’s just something I thought about,” Maria explained. “I like vintage things and vintage music. I started to collect the teapots and cups and saucers and it just grew from there. All the old tin signs up on the walls are originals. They were my auntie’s, who had them for 40-odd years.
“My friends and family think I’m mad but they’ve all supported me and they’ve all been helping out. It’s been really good.”
Lee gave the boat a huge makeover to turn it into the tearoom. Maria said: “Where the dining area is now used to be the kitchen. There was a bed attached to the wall near the door and where the kitchen is now, there was a bed there. Everything was ripped out and there’s been a complete revamp. It took us just over three weeks to do it.”
Since opening, Maria says it’s been “manic.” The tearoom has proved incredibly popular with customers and passers-by along the canal. The boat has already hosted a 70th birthday party, with a bridal shower scheduled for next weekend!
“We’ve been really busy,” Maria said. “Mornings are a bit quieter but from about 12 o’clock onwards, we just don’t stop. Our customers love it. The local PSCOs have been round to have a look. It’s been really good; everyone likes it. Everyone says we need things like this in Droylsden and people keep coming back, so that’s good.”
Safari tearoom serves breakfast until 11.30am, cooked by Maria’s son Philip, who happens to be a chef! The afternoon tea includes sandwiches, salad, crisps and coleslaw, with fresh scones and clotted cream and steaming pots of tea and coffee. Customers can even enjoy a glass of Prosecco, wine or a gin and tonic!
There’s a soup of the day and a kids menu, and delicious cakes line the shelves. No wonder it’s so busy!
“We’re having a ball so far,” Maria said. “We’re going to stay moored here in Droylsden so as long as we’re busy, we’ll keep doing it.”
The Safari Narrowboat Tearoom is open from 8am-4pm Tuesday to Friday, and 9am-4pm at weekends.
For more information and to view the menu, you can visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Safari-Narrowboat-Tearoom-219950255282015