A COUPLE who bought an burger van on a whim from eBay could be crowned owners of Britain’s Best Café next month.

Dotty’s Café on Devizes Road has already been named the South West winner in the awards.

Owners Graham Rowcliffe and Lizzie Baylis will learn on November 9 whether they have beaten 13 other regional champions and taken the Britain’s Best Café title.

Former plant hire director Graham, 59, who describes himself as a 'self-taught chef', said: “We’re just delighted. We didn’t really expect it.

“We’ve got lots of lovely customers, who were all pushing for us to win. Our staff have always got a big friendly smile.”

Famed for its big fried breakfasts, Dotty’s also serves homemade cakes, traditional favourites like liver and onions – and a cottage pie made to Graham’s mother’s secret recipe.

Lizzie, a 52-year-old former nurse who manages the café’s front of house, said South West regional judges picked out Dotty’s for its “customer service, quality food and our staff”.

Graham adds: “We’ve just gone from strength to strength. I think that’s down to the way we do it – good sized portions, home-cooked food and reasonable prices.”

He describes the couple as “mildly optimistic” about winning the Britain’s Best Café gong.

“It would just be fantastic to win,” he said.

“We want that title above the door. But just to get to the final is an honour. We didn’t expect it.”

If they win, it will be a huge achievement for a pair who – just a decade ago – had never set foot in a professional kitchen.

Their entry into the world of catering came by chance.

Graham said: “We bought a burger van on eBay, while we were on holiday in Spain.”

The pair started in Newbury, running a café business for seven years – before moving to Swindon to open Dotty’s two years ago. The café is named after Lizzie’s mother.

Grange Park resident Graham added: “I have no professional training as a chef. I’m completely self-taught. Lizzie? She’s just a natural.”