The End of an Era
BUCKEYE LAKE – The only thing to say when entering the Banbury Cross British Restaurant and Gifts’ dining room is “Wow!” Owner Dawn Casto spent days cleaning hundreds and hundreds of dishware items, gifts, furniture, and kitchen supplies to be ready for a massive sale of everything within the Banbury Cross—and she does mean “everything”— March 25 and 26. Tables are stacked with glassware, table settings, and gift items and the dining room is packed with tables.
Casto’s very sad that her Banbury Cross is closing after 11 years, but she accepts that a down economy has placed her business in good company with so many other lake area businesses, such as Albanese’s IGA, the Jabber Shop, Baltimore Hometown Classic, Simply 2 Go, and WJD’s, which recently closed their doors.
Still, Casto has fond memories since opening Banbury Cross February 2000. “It was all the people,” she said. “I made some really good friends.” Casto enjoyed a lot of repeat business for many years and came to know many of her customers very well. The Banbury Cross also became a meeting place for concerned citizens to discuss Buckeye Lake Village current events following village council meetings. “It’s been a lot of fun,” said Casto.
But, now that Banbury Cross is shutting down, Casto realizes how much stuff a restaurant and gift shop can collect after 11 years. “Even I was amazed,” she said. “It’s easy to accumulate.” Sometimes she’d entertain groups of 30 people at a time, which required plenty of supplies. “It’s all got to go,” said Casto. “All” includes everything in the restaurant, from the pictures on the walls, to corner cabinets, all kitchen equipment, and even a fireplace.
Pricing everything is proving to be a challenge because each item holds a piece of Banbury Cross history. Casto said she relegated the pricing to someone else with an objective view. “It’s all become personal,” she said.
Casto was no stranger to the kitchen when she opened Banbury Cross. She’d already worked for Moundbuilders Country Club in Newark and (some may remember) Big O’s diner in Buckeye Lake where La Paloma’s Mexican restaurant is today. Casto enjoyed the work, but was certain she could open her own place, which she did with an inheritance from her father, who owned a bus company in England. “I knew he’d be really happy about me doing this,” said Casto.
Although Banbury Cross is closing, Casto considers herself fortunate. “Most people don’t get to do this for as long as I have,” she said. “I’m lucky.”