Award-winning Colston Bassett Store and Garden Café is opening a new chapter in its life following the closure of the Post Office last year by welcoming customers and diners during the evening.

The gourmet food and drink store and café restaurant will be throwing open its doors until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays from November 20th. It will also be introducing twice-weekly wine tasting evenings at the same time to introduce customers to its collection of around 80 different wines.

“It’s been a while coming, but we are delighted that we can now offer diners the chance to experience our popular café restaurant in the evenings,” said Martin Lindsay, who runs Colston Basssett Store with wife Jan. “As the entrance to the café restaurant is via the shop we’ve decided to keep the store open too until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and offer wine tasting sessions at the same time.”

The couple believe opening their café restaurant in the evening two nights a week will fill a gap in the market and cater for the growing trend of ‘early evening eating’.

“Since we opened the café in 2007 it’s become very popular during the day, and it’s partly down to customer demand and partly because we have now lost the Post Office at the store and we need to do all we can to make the business as viable as possible that we have decided to open in the evenings,” said Martin.

“The closing time of 10pm has been chosen to reduce any disturbance to residents, but also to make the most of the modern trend of early evening eating. We’re on the commuter route into the Vale of Belvoir, are fully licensed and we can also accommodate disabled customers, including those in powered wheelchairs.”

Wine tastings will also be on offer every Friday and Saturday evening from November 20th to give customers the chance to try before they buy and discover exciting new wines.

“We want to offer our customers the chance to try new wines and to discover wines that suit particular dishes or meats,” said Martin.

Martin and Jan expanded and renovated the building, which dates from the 17th century, to create a chic deli offering cheeses, meats, wines, beers, breads and a variety of other specialist and local products, which they opened in 2004. It has since expanded its range to include gifts, cards, homewares and jewellery.

In 2006, it was voted the best village shop in the East Midlands by a top team of foodies, including Heston Blumenthal, Henrietta Green and Nick Nairn. The shop was given the accolade in the BMW 1 Series Good Food Ride book which highlights the best places to eat, shop and visit in the UK if you’re a foodie fan.

Martin and Jan opened their stylish Garden Café in 2007 as a result of customer demand.