The couple who have run The Vardar in Littlehampton have celebrated its 40th anniversary.
When Peter and Loreta Stojanovski moved to Littlehampton, they had dreams of running a successful restaurant.
And those dreams became a reality: The Vardar restaurant in Selborne Road, open for 40 years.
The couple, originally from Macedonia, will be celebrating the milestone with a party later this month.
Loreta said: “Running a restaurant is hard work and for our family, it is a genuine passion. The Vardar has always been blessed with loyal customers who are now bringing their own children and grandchildren to create the next generation of customers.”
Peter trained as a chef and worked in Arundel before he and Loreta took the plunge with a friend and bought what was previously The Red Lion in Selborne Road for £900 and opened it on June 19, 1979 as The Vardar.
Named after the longest river in Macedonia, the restaurant has been on the same site ever since.
In 1993, the couple bought the Nelson Hotel on Littlehampton seafront and ran it successfully for several years, and in 2005, they bought the Golden Parrot next door and turned it into the VIP Club, creating the perfect venue for weddings, parties and celebrations for up to 200 guests.
The Vardar now claims to be Littlehampton’s oldest Mediterranean restaurant, and is run by the couple with their daughter Tina and son-in-law Goran. Peter and Loreta have raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity over the years.
Peter explained the secret of their success. He said: “Eating trends may change but we are living proof that people will always want to visit a restaurant that offers fresh, homemade food and a warm, friendly welcome.”
The couple now plan to demolish the Nelson Hotel building and create a new 14-bedroom hotel with a restaurant and rooftop bar.