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Owner of Celebrated East London Cafe Says She Can No Longer Fight Soaring Costs

Lighthaus Cafe on Leyton Industrial Village has closed permanently

A warehouse with a cafe interior, including pendant bulbs, chairs, stools, and a cushioned blue sofa.
Lighthaus Cafe, Leyton, has permanently closed
Lighthaus Cafe/Facebook

Jen Weiss, the owner of the much-loved and charming east London cafe-restaurant Lighthaus in Leyton Industrial Village, has announced the venue has closed permanently, saying she “looked into every option to avoid it.”

On Instagram today, Weiss wrote that it was “absolutely heart breaking” that she had no choice but to permanently close the cafe-restaurant. “This decision did not come with ease and I don’t think anyone reading this needs reminding of the state of the economy, the serious increase in rent, electricity, produce, staffing and VAT bills is just something I can no longer fight,” she wrote.

Lighthaus opened on an industrial estate in Leyton, east London nearly six years ago, when, Weiss says, she “turned a lifelong dream of a cafe into a beautiful mad journey.” She described community which grew around the cafe and which it helped it through the tough times of the COVID-19 crisis had been “overwhelming.” “We slowly grew into our wee haven, when we were hit by a pandemic. This wonderful found community of support and love really helped to get us out the other side and we fought harder than ever,” she wrote.

In the last 18 months, the cafe had garnered a stellar reputation, beyond the one it had cultivated among its local, regular clientele. That was in part a result of ex-40 Maltby Street chef Alex Vines, who introduced clever dishes, such as seasonal tarts, salads, croquettes, and the like — all which recalled Southern Europe. Vines departed in March this year, and was replaced by the Missy London duo, who operated a permanent residency.

Last month, in a battle to overcome soaring costs, Weiss announced that Lighthaus would introduce a fixed-price set menu.

Weiss used the heartfelt Instagram post to thank loved one, but said “although I have often had a lot of support and love throughout, there was only ever me left trying to keep this ship heading toward the light and the time has come for me to stop……for now.

“I am sincerely sorry to the ones who I have caused any upset to. This is not how I wanted to go out.”