THE tables have turned for Alan and Roslyn Tampion of Warrnambool's iconic Savoy cafe.
After 29 years serving customers at the Liebig Street cafe, the couple have retired and will be enjoying numerous lunches at the homes of their many appreciative customers.
"That many people have invited us out for lunch," Mr Tampion said.
"We will be very busy," he said.
Up to 200 regular customers packed the Savoy cafe yesterday for a farewell afternoon tea when the couple closed the doors on the cafe that was always reliable for "old-fashioned, honest" food and a good chat.
Mr Tampion said the couple's interest in people were the foundations of the cafe's long success.
Mrs Tampion had worked in the cafe for two years before the couple took over and their children and grandchildren have also worked there.
Apart from the good old-fashioned service, the cafe's olde worlde charm was enhanced with historical photos of Warrnambool and old-time decor, including a ripple iron ceiling.
Among the many well-wishers at yesterday's farewell was pharmacist Don McLeod who said he had been coming to the Savoy for about 25 years for its "good, down to earth food" and to chat with many other regular customers. The couple's son, Troy, said his mother knew the preferences of many customers so well she would start cooking their meal even before they had ordered.
He said the cafe's chicken souvlaki with cream cheese and lamb souvlaki with garlic sauce were among customers' favourites.
Troy, 41, said he used to do his homework in the cafe and his own children had grown up in the cafe.
Mr Tampion, 69, said he and his wife had decided to retire because they did not want to sign a new lease on the cafe.
They also wanted more time to spend with their three children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
He said his involvement in numerous Warrnambool and Terang community groups helped foster his interest in people.
The couple built up a reputation for good customer service before taking over at the Savoy.
They had run a milk bar in Timor Street and Mr Tampion had earlier worked in the Moran and Cato grocery stores in Warrnambool and Terang.