It might seem tricky to imagine when you visit us now but before 2014 there wasn’t a cafe on Merlin Park at all, never mind a Merlin's!
The story of how our cafe came to be really starts back in 2010, when an application for catering facilities on the current Merlins site was rejected by West Lancashire Council, due to policies covering the wider Burscough Industrial Estate which stated that when the estate was originally created approval was only given for specific business types which didn’t include catering!
It was George Bond, the owner of the eco-focused Merlin Park, who worked in conjunction with the council to overturn the rejection for the benefit of all the businesses on the site and in 2013 planning permission for what was then named Hogey’s Cafe was finally approved. A family-run cafe business lead by husband and wife team, Steve and Sandy Darwin, supported by daughter Sarah, relocated from nearby Southport to take up the opportunity to open a cafe on the site and stayed open until May 2014.
The premises wasn't closed for long though and on 2nd September there was word on Facebook that a new cafe, owned and run by David Peeks and Jane Thompson, who had run the Artisan Breadworks company since 2011, were going to re-open the cafe under the name Merlin's. The cafe officially opened on 22nd September 2014 and from that part became a popular eatery not just for other businesses and employees on the industrial estate but also from passing motorists and cycle clubs, as well as local people from Burscough and Ormskirk.
A year later in 2015 the cafe was extended to offer more seating in a glass walled extension that offered views of the lake opposite, and also became fully licensed and the site of bread making classes by the Artisan Foodworks which by now had been nominated and won several awards. Several Trip Advisor certificates of excellence for the cafe followed over the next few years, as well as being recognised as a dog friendly cafe, before David and Jane decided the time was right in late 2018 to sell the cafe and relocate to Fiji.
Merlin's was subsequently purchased by new management headed up by Jenny Tinsley, who brought her experience in the food hall and general retail businesses, and on January 20th 2019 Merlin's once again re-opened, with the same dedication to serving the highest quality local produce, breakfast, lunch, coffee and cakes, with new dishes served up alongside some old favourites!
Merlin's Cafe, Unit 707, Merlin Park, Ringtail Road, Burscough L40 8JY
Monday to Friday 8am-4pm