‘A big thank you to all our customers’ says Snookies founder after cafe closes

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The former owner and founder of a well-known cafe that has closed its doors after more than 50 years has thanked her loyal customers.

Janet Bischof, from Southsea, and her late husband Max set up Snookies in Osborne Road, Southsea in 1956.

Max and Janet Bischof, who started Snookies in Southsea

Max and Janet Bischof, who started Snookies in Southsea

The couple retired in 1989 and the premises were leased to several different owners.

The last one was there for 10 years and he decided to sell the business to the Red Lounge Group, which plans to turn it into a Indian tapas restaurant.

Mrs Bischof, who still owns the building and flats above, said: ‘Although I would have preferred an all-day type of business to take over, I’m sure Mr (Kaz) Miah will be successful and I wish him well.’

Mrs Bischof said the street had completely changed from when she and her husband started Snookies. She recalled the large holes left after bombs had hit during the war.

It was a pleasure to serve you and may the name Snookies remain in our hearts

Janet Bischof

The shop was originally a delicatessen. When a fishmonger next door retired, the Bischofs took over that shop and expanded into a cafe with a bakery in 1960 – becoming famous for cream cakes and egg and cress rolls.

They took the name Snookies after hearing that the building was formerly a shop owned by a Mrs Snook. The Bischof family lived above the cafe and Mrs Bischof said they were ‘happy times’.

They decided to start out in Portsmouth after Mr Bischof, originally from Switzerland, was offered a job by another company. But instead they took a risk and set up in business themselves.

Mrs Bischof, 81, said: ‘My dear husband was a Swiss master confectioner and an excellent businessman, very fair in his dealings and very skilful. We had customers from all over the world.

‘We catered for the council and for royalty coming to Portsmouth, plus many different celebrities appearing at the Kings Theatre, including Dick Emery and Dame Judi Dench.

Mrs Bischof said: ‘In 2008 my dear husband sadly passed away and I know he would join me in thanking all our customers and friends for their support and encouragement, not to forget the staff.

‘A very warm thank you to you all. It was a pleasure to serve you and may the name Snookies remain in our hearts.’