The small restaurant by the side of the A1 at Spital tried to claim to be a signposted service station, but it remains much more limited in scope (for better or worse) than other services areas on the road. It recently reopened as a café and HGV parking facility.
Catering: Pearl Truck Stop & Café Amenities: Showers Outdoor Space: No grass space
First hour free for all vehicles, after which all vehicles must pay £18 per 24 hour period. HGVs can also pay £25 to include a £7 food voucher.
Prices are paid in the café and can be paid with GBP, EUR, fuel cards or SNAP. The fees are strictly enforced.
This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.
Trivia and History
As this site has only really ever consisted of a single diner, it is usually known by the name of the café. There has been a few references to it being Spital service station, which is the name we use.
There is a single sign for the service area, positioned by the Highways Agency on the main A1. The sign advertises free toilets and a restaurant, with a third symbol covered up. It's not clear if previous owners wanted free toilets to be advertised, or why the sign doesn't meet traffic sign regulations, or why a facility with no fuel is being advertised from the road at all.
The sign in question even remained in place while the site was closed. It's likely that the Highways Agency once reluctantly agreed to put the sign up, and then everybody forgot it was there.
The A1 here was a Roman Road, originally numbered A614.
The first map to show development here is dated 1948, showing two buildings, which appear to be the house and café building. They were positioned at the junction with Long Brecks Lane. The restaurant building was named Police House.
The road was upgraded to a dual carriageway in 1961, when it became known as Spital Road rather than Blyth Road (it later changed back). The junction with Long Brecks Lane was closed. The main building had an extension (which appears to be the long section at the back), and was now labelled in maps as "garage".
In around 1976 the main building was taken over by Little Chef, becoming their Blyth branch. At the time Little Chef was owned by Forte, and in 1987 their arch rivals Granada built a larger service station two miles to the north, also named Blyth.
Forte tried to compete with this in 1989, when they built a Travelodge at the back of the site. They then registered an application to build a Happy Eater, which may have been for the other side of the road. By 1997 these brands had been acquired by Granada, and with two Travelodges close by they chose to demolish this one. The land was later used to store wrecked vehicles.
In 2002, Little Chef's owner wanted to close restaurants without a motel, which included this branch. The building was taken over by an independent diner, called Katie's Kitchen. This closed and became Joey's Truck Stop, then Frankie's Diner, which was boarded up in 2008. Then it became Hannah's Kitchen, then Joey's Diner and finally Flo's Cafe. At some point access through to Long Breck Lane became possible via the car park.
Flo's Café closed permanently in Summer 2021, with the lease on the building due to expire in November anyway. Cones were placed around the entrance. The following year, it was advertised as a HGV parking area.
Transport and logistics firm Riva Pearl Group purchased the site in late 2022, reopening it as a truckstop and café, forming part of the Pearl Truck Stop chain. To them, the site is advertised as A1 service. They operate a new online booking facility.
|Markham Moor (10 miles)||Services on the A1||Blyth (2 miles)|