ST GILES’ Cafe in Oxford was a city landmark, feeding an eclectic mix of scaffolders, academics and students since the 1930s.

For decades the greasy spoon cafe was famous for one thing only - its breakfasts.

Now times have changed and bacon and eggs or a full English have been replaced with something just as tasty - gourmet hotdogs and burgers.

The famous sign above the door at 50 St Giles has been taken down and restaurateur Chi Lai is now in charge of NJF (Not Just Food).

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He bought the lease from the owner, a private landlord, about nine months ago and following a major refurbishment opened an American-style diner in the summer.

The Oxford Times:

The 37-year-old, who used to run the Dong Dong noodle bar in Windmill Road, Headington, for about 10 years, said he hoped the diner would prove popular with Oxford University students, tourists and residents.

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He said: “We have completely stripped the place out and given it a much more modern look.

The Oxford Times:

“I think greasy spoons cafes have had their day - there aren’t many of them left now and that’s because people want something fresh and more modern.

“We invested about £80,000 and I think the place now looks really good - it’s a new concept for this part of St Giles.”

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Father-of-one Mr Lai said the diner, which has seating for about 20 people often gets busy.

The Oxford Times:

And he is hoping it will be busier still when Oxford University students return for the start of the new academic year.

The focus is on food - at the moment gourmet hotdogs, with burgers soon to be added to the menu - and craft beers.

NJF is open Sunday to Thursday from noon until 9pm and from noon until 10pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Each day Mr Lai and his staff take a break from 3pm to 5pm.

Mr Lai added: “My concept is that NJF is a restaurant but it’s a bar as well and we have a variety of craft beers on sale including an IPA from Cornwall called graffiti.

“A schooner - about two thirds of a pint - costs about £4.

The Oxford Times:

“The meat for our gourmet hotdogs comes from Germany and the bread is from a local bakery in Wheatley.

“For our gourmet burgers the meat will come from Aldens the local butcher or we may get it from Devon.

“We know it’s a very competitive market but everything is cooked on the premises and hopefully that will continue to bring people in.”

Mr Lai is hoping more diners leave positive reviews on restaurant reviews site TripAdvisor.

The Oxford Times:

“We know how important good reviews are on TripAdvisor,” he added.

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At the moment NJF is ranked 274 out of 493 dining establishments and has been rated 4.5 out of five. So far only 11 people have left reviews. Kelly S from Canada said the diner was ‘awesome’.

She added: “Absolutely delicious food and service was great! Comfort food for sure and not just your basics.”