A year after terror struck London, local restaurant owner Jack Applebee describes how humble resilience and hard work has kept Borough Market going.
It’s a testament to Londoners that business in Borough Market is still booming. The atmosphere in the south London spot has always been energetic and joyous, with friends meeting for dinner, families reuniting for a feast, and lovers strolling hand-in-hand as they browse where to stop for a snack.
Of course, everyone remembers the terrifying ordeal that took place last year on June 3, but we’ll also remember the resilience. One image of that night, of one man fleeing the scene, still managing to keep a firm hold of his pint, embodies the spirit.
Another humble hero who was in Borough that night is 25-year-old restaurant owner Jack Applebee. During the attack, he managed to pull his customers inside the restaurant, hop behind the bar and close the shutters far down enough to keep his patrons safe. Then he returned to work as soon as he could. We chat to him about his restaurant, the attacks and what the vibe of the area is like now.
Tell us about your restaurant.
My parents Joy and Graham Applebee opened Applebee’s Fish as a stall in 1998 when the market first became retail. We then opened a shop which is where Neal’s Yard Remedies is now, just next door. We then took on this derelict Grade II-listed building and opened a fishmonger with the restaurant at the back, and boy, has it developed since then!
How do you describe the atmosphere in the market now?
Borough Market is absolutely buzzing. Every year it grows. Londoners and people from all over the world come to enjoy some of the best food and drink the capital has to offer.
Is it different from a year ago?
It is and it isn’t. I think every year the market changes and develops, but this year has been quite special. After the events that took place last summer, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the public. The market is full of energy and we cannot thank everyone enough for their resilience to carry on as usual after such a horrific event.
Are you friendly with other business owners?
Yes I am, particularly with the neighbouring businesses on Stoney Street. I was friendly with a fair few before, but the terrorist attack definitely brought us all closer. I remember one day when Stoney Street was closed off from the public and everyone was working to try and make it better – during this time, people from all different businesses were bringing each other food and drink. It’s a supportive community.
How is business generally?
Business is really great at the moment – we can’t complain!
What kind of Londoner comes to Borough Market?
All kinds. It’s a place where all kinds of people come together to enjoy good food and drink.
What’s your favourite thing about working in the area?
The amount of fantastic food and drink venues literally on my doorstep!
Do you think you’ll do anything for the anniversary?
There is a commemoration at Southwark Cathedral to mark the year anniversary.
Did you ever meet the guy who ran from the scene with a pint in his hand?
I did not, but would love to have a beer with him!
What are your top recommendations for people visiting Borough Market?
Come to Applebee’s Fish! Come for the day to do some food and drink shopping, then, in the early afternoon, find yourself a nice spot to sit and relax in one of the many great restaurants and pubs. Spend the day eating and drinking!
Borough Market is open all year round from 10am until 5pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am until 5pm on Saturdays. In December, the market opens on Sundays for Christmas shoppers. Bars and restaurants around the market are open into the evening.
Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, England, +44 20 7407 1002
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