Many a hungry film fan, tourist, actor or theatregoer has been delighted to stumble across Gaby’s for a quick falafel or salt beef sandwich. This small Jewish ‘deli’ (it’s more a buzzing café) has become a West End landmark, feeding the masses since 1965. We’re sad to learn that Gaby’s (and 4 neighbouring businesses) are being forced to shut down thanks to a planning application by the building owner, Gascoyne Holdings Ltd. Employee Mehmen, who has worked at Gaby’s for the last 30 years, said ‘everyone is extremely sad but we don’t think anything can be done to stop it’. Councillor Robert Davis, Chairman of Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee, said: ‘The committee considered views from existing tenants, the applicant and residents. The extension will significantly improve the look and feel of St Martin’s Court and the surrounding area, and in the long term these benefits will outweigh the loss of the existing retail units. Because of this the committee granted conditional permission.’ The final decision as to what will be built lies in the hands of Gascoyne Holdings Ltd. Jewish delis are an increasingly rare breed in central London (although the Polpo team are planning to open Mishkin’s, a ‘Jewish deli’, in November 2011). The passing of Gaby’s will be the loss of a great institution.
For venue info, see Gaby’s listing. Can anything be done to stop the loss of yet another independent West End business? Share your thoughts below.