A POPULAR centrepiece of Chard which reflects the town’s large Portuguese population has opened a new, larger premises with great success.

Saraiva’s, named after owner Joao Saraiva, has been a key part of the town for more than a decade and recently saw a change of location.

Previously running out of a small shop front opposite the town’s landmark Guildhall, the business has moved up the hill into 2 High Street, Chard.

The new site is best known locally as the former Jobcentre, although that branch was shut in 2008.

Joao has welcomed the move, with the new location allowing him to provide separate areas for the cafe, shop and restaurant wings of his business.

He said: “The new place is a lot better, mostly because we don’t have to mix everything together.

“We get a good mix of people come in here. We probably have the same number of Portuguese people and those coming from the UK.”

Joao has lived in the UK for 15 years, initially starting out in Crewkerne, and has been based in Chard for 12 years.

All of Saraiva’s staff are Portuguese, with one Brazilian, helping to give the restaurant an authentic feel.

“Chard has a big Portuguese community and a lot of them work at Oscar Mayer and at Numatic,” said Joao.

“In the beginning people came over from Portugal through agencies that went out to find labour, and then their families joined them.

“Now most people who come over already have friends and family over here and they just become part of the community.

“We all get on with all the British and the Portuguese people the same, and we started having mixed marriages and this is our home now.”

As well as providing a lot of traditional Portuguese dishes, Saraiva’s is also proud to offer a full English breakfast, omelettes, and fast food ‘English style’.

Joao added: “A lot of our customers went on holiday to Portugal and they come back and want to keep eating the same type of food so they come to us.

“We would love more people to come and try our food. We have people come from Bristol, Exeter and even London and they come and eat here.

“Try our food, and our relaxed Portuguese way of life.”