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But she did know one thing: “I wasn’t ready to give up.”
Having spent seven years establishing a fantastic reputation and some of the best afternoon teas from her base in the Port of Liverpool building, Maria set up a delivery service offering her celebrated sweets and savouries in a box.
It was an amazing success, and Maria was delighted her thriving business wasn’t going to sink.
“I had people phoning in from all over the world to request an afternoon tea to send to someone, maybe an elderly relative who was alone,” she says. “There were some really moving stories, and the teas brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.”
And, having risen to the challenge once, Maria has done it again!
Mrs Danvers has had a makeover and reinvented ‘herself’ bigger and better than ever.
With new premises in Liverpool’s fabric district off London Road, Maria has now created Mrs Danvers’ Deco Bar.
It offers the same fantastic afternoon teas – although they’ve had a revamp too with a new Italian pastry chef creating some of the most amazing cakes and pastries – and there’s a bar and events space so you can have a glass of fizz or gin with your sandwiches and scones, and plan your next party there.
“It’s really exciting,” says Maria. “It’s given me an opportunity to showcase what we do, and offer even more.”
“I wanted to take a step in a slightly different direction and, in the new venue on Gildart Street, that’s what I have done.
“It would be great to see all the old faces, and say hello again, and we can’t wait to see new ones too.”
Mrs Danvers’ Deco Bar is perfect for a drink away from the hustle and bustle of town, with local beers, wines and spirits on offer – as well as some bespoke cocktails if you fancy a treat.
With a nod to Rebecca, the Daphne du Maurier novel in which Mrs Danvers was created, there’s a Back to Mandalay cocktail and a gin-based favourite called Mrs Danvers’ Twisted Bramble; and with a focus on the fabric district, there’s a cocktail fabulously named Ostrich Needed Apply Within and another, Emporium of Silk.
The emphasis is on fun and celebration: “When I opened the bar and events space I wanted to create somewhere people could come and be together, where they could have affordable weddings with hot and cold buffets, birthday and anniversary parties, hen dos, baby showers, whatever they wanted to celebrate,” says Maria.
And, while you can have your own events, Maria is organising some great ones too.
There’s a Christmas Quiz Night coming up on December 10 which includes a glass of mulled wine and a festive mince pie for £15, an evening with drag divas Funny Boyz inviting you to join in some song, dance and karaoke on December 11, and, on December 18, there’s a Christmas Special with X Factor singer Michelle Lawson paying tribute to Whitney Houston.
“I didn’t want to let go of Mrs Danvers with so much energy and effort having gone into creating it,” says Maria.
“The Deco Bar is a great new challenge for me, and somewhere for people to come and have a great time.
“We’ve got a new bright and airy space that’s covid safe, and we’d love to invite people to come and enjoy a bite to eat and a drink.
“Don’t forget, we’ve still got our wonderful afternoon teas – and you can now book our Christmas ones with frangipane mince pies, Christmas Tree Meringues, turkey and stuffing sandwiches, pigs in blankets and lots of other lovely things. They’re getting booked up fast!
“And we are still here for orders and delivery.”
Adds Maria: “It’s a whole new adventure and we can’t wait for people to share it with us.”
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