A RAYLEIGH coffee shop and restaurant has closed its doors for good, the owners have announced.

The Yard Coffee and Kitchen, on Eastwood Road close to the junction with Rayleigh High Street, was a family run coffee shop which doubled as a Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar. 

However, the owners have now announced that it has closed permanently after two years and have thanked its “amazing team and customers” for their support. 

John Smith, 73, of The Chase, said: “It’s devastating to hear because The Yard was such a lovely place to go for a coffee because of the great atmosphere.

“The staff were always really friendly, and it’s a shame it’ll no longer be available for the community to use.

“Rayleigh prides itself on having independent businesses and now a big piece of that has been taken away.

“It’s a shock, and I wish the owners the best for the future."

The business is ranked as the “number one restaurant in Rayleigh” based on reviews left on the TripAdvisor website.

As well as this, it also received nominations and got to the finals for the Essex Small Business Awards, which recognises and celebrates the very best in the region.

Jack Lawmon, Rochford Independent Group councillor and chairman of the council, said: “It’s a shame The Yard has closed because it was a great place.

“I really do believe something will replace it very soon because Rayleigh is good at attracting businesses easily.

“I’m sure The Yard building will get filled and open once again, and I really wish the owners all the best for the future.”

In a Facebook post, a message to customers said: “It has been a rollercoaster two years, many downs, and way more highs, and we have made many new friends and have had lovely chats and good times with lots of you over the time we have been here.

“Here’s to new chapters and adventures in 2024.”