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Popular family run Essex restaurant celebrates it’s 22nd Birthday

09 Jul Popular family run Essex restaurant celebrates it’s 22nd Birthday

An Essex-based restaurant celebrates its 22nd birthday next week (July 20th) marking a prestigious milestone in the community for the family-run business

Restauranteur Simon Duke opened La Quinta in Benfleet with his brother Rupert to much fanfare in 2002 and has never looked back since.

They invested £2 million into the business, creating a 180-seat eaterie, employed a top chef, and then added a nightclub upstairs.

The popular restaurant now also runs a unique, inclusive disabled night every Thursday aimed at providing a safe space for people with disabilities.

Delighted Simon, who lives in Hadleigh, said:” This has been an incredible journey and I can honestly say the time has flown by.

“We took a huge risk when we started, but my background has always been in the drinks trade, and now we can’t wait for the next 20 years.”

The restaurant was born out of the ashes of a textile business which at the time employed 100 people and made uniforms for British Airways and British Midland. But when 911 hit and flights were grounded around the world, they lost 2 years of orders in 48 hours.

Using his experience within hospitality, Simon was passionate about turning things around and built La Quinta, from scratch.

Now he credits his daughter Gina , 35, for help in keeping the business running smoothly with him and her uncle Rupert. “Gina keeps us on our toes, organising our tribute nights and choosing all the menus and the drinks. She’s thrown herself into all corners of the business, from washing up, waiting on tables and doing the meeting and greeting. ”

Gina, who left school at 16 with 8 A grade GCSEs has thrown herself into her role and also recently developed a range of flavored tequilas which are now selling around the world.

Since opening its doors in 2002, La Quinta has seen consistent growth even during the cost of living crisis all down to a loyal customer base, who enjoy the tribute nights including local favourite Freddie Mercury tribute act Gary Goodmaze and their multi-cuisine menu, alongside their bespoke ‘Cocktail School’. Founder Simon puts the success of the business down to his family roots

“Our parents and grandparents instilled in us the values of integrity, hard work, and dedication. These principles guide us in how we operate our business and interact with our customers and employees. They taught us the importance of doing things the right way, even if it takes longer”.

The festivities will take place at LaQuinta in Benfleet on Saturday July 20th where the Duke family have enlisted Diane Horan-Hill and Miles Elliot of Heart and Soul, who will sing their club soul and party anthems to keep audiences entertained during the evening.