A TINY cafe on Bangor's Garth Pier is gaining a big reputation after winning a top award.

The bijou Whistle-stop Cafe, in one of the Victorian kiosks, has won the prestigious Welsh Food Awards 2019, picking up the Traditional Welsh Food Restaurant of the Year title in Cardiff.

Online review site TripAdvisor has also put it into its hall of fame for establishments that get 5* ratings within five successive years.

The cafe is run by Terrence Thomas with his partner June Lavelle. Terrence is a retired agricultural and forest economist who taught at Bangor University, and is a self-taught cook. June is a retired nutritionist who ran a health food business in Swinton, Manchester.

The cafe opened in its present format, in 2013, after suffering damage in a storm a year earlier.

Mr Thomas said: "The inspiration for the name came from the film ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-stop Café in Ironville, Alabama, USA.

"Our ethos shares that of the establishment in the film. Our customers are a mix of residents and travellers from all over the UK and indeed the world.

"Because it is small, conversational magic is often made between the customers as they share experiences."

The cafe has attracted the attention of celebrities such as Jonathan Dimbleby and Alexi Sayle, who wrote an article in the magazine Beautiful Britain, in 2013.

Mr Thomas said: "He described the Whistle- stop as one of those places that always draws you back and commented on the authenticity of our Welsh rarebit."

In 2017, the cafe hosted a tea party for children’s cancer charity CHICS, in 2018, it raised £2,000 for CALM the Campaign Against Living Miserably and in 2019, it is raising money for a young man with Leukaemia.

It has also provided a venue for the Wales Poetry Festival, 2015-18.