If you’re heading to Broadway Market today, my personal tip is a fresh juice from Tony’s stall. Tony Platia ran Francesca’s Cafe for some 30 years until his shop was sold to a developer (along with a number of other properties), and he was evicted in July 2007. The local community, and his many regulars, were outraged at seeing him losing the business he had built up over so many years.
The building was occupied in December 2005 and I remember going in and talking to the squatters, who were rugged up in beanies and thick jackets, drinking tea and answering questions.
They’ll kick us out,’ said one. ‘I know that. We won’t win. But we’re making a point.’
A few days later there was a dawn raid, the squatters were evicted and the shop has been boarded up ever since; the luxury apartments yet to materialise.
Anyway, Tony picked himself up and now works at Broadway Market every Saturday selling freshly blended juices. They’re packed with oranges and ginger and all sorts of good things, and will knock any hayfever or colds or swine flu (well, maybe not that, but it can’t hurt) on the head and give you a decent hit of vitamins for the weekend. He even lets you have a taste before you buy.