IT was the retro restaurant locked in time, but every year it served a treat, with steak Dianes and that famous ‘Melba toast’, however one of Barry’s most eclectic restaurants is no longer with us.

After 51 years the Casa Paco, on Barry’s Broad Street, is no more, with owner Karen Canty having passed the lease on to a new restaurant.

The Casa was the place to go if you wanted to be seen among the deco décor and having romantic candlelit prawn cocktail dinners.

Casa Paco’s story is a unique one, the restaurant was taken over by Graham Rogers in the 70s who decided to enter a steep learning curve, teaching himself how to run a restaurant and inventing all his own dishes.

This working on the fly was hugely successful, with the Casa Paco developing a cult following of loyal diners who continually came back, enjoying a menu that didn’t change through the course of the restaurant’s existence.

After Graham stepped aside it was daughter Karen who took over, along with her ex-husband, who turned it into somewhat of a family affair, roping in kids, partners, ex-partner’s girlfriends, even dad came back to keep the restaurant ticking over.

Barry And District News:

(The restaurant offered a unique dining experience loved by many)

Barry And District News:

(The menu remained roughly the same for over half a century!)

It’s often the perception that restaurants closing must be down to Covid, with the pandemic all but destroying the hospitality industry, however, for Karen, she said the business didn’t just survive the pandemic, it thrived, developing a sleek looking takeaway system that her customers went crazy for.

For Karen, she said what made Casa Paco special was the personal touch.

“We have always had loyal, regular customers and proved that right through the pandemic,” said Karen.

“Casa Paco was about the personal touch. Nothing was done online. It was all through me over the phone.”

Barry And District News:

(Casa Paco passed the lease on to a new establishment)

Barry And District News:

(The Casa Paco will leave a gaping hole in Broad Street)

Eventually the toll of running a restaurant became too much and Karen decided to let the lease go, down to a combination of having another job – she also works at Cardiff Airport – and concerns over the rising cost of running a hospitality venue, with prices of energy and products shooting through the roof in recent months.

Karen said it was all worth it though, and thanked everyone who was involved both behind the counter and in front of it.

“To all our customers, young, elderly, old and new, thank you for your support. You were all great,” said karen.

Did you dine at the Casa Paco? What are your memories of it? What was your favourite dish? Do you have a message for Karen and her former staff? Let us know about your time at the famous Casa Paco!