A popular restaurant which was founded by army veterans and built in a former post office in Orpington has been described as “the heart of the community”.

Orpington General Post Office (GPO) first opened its doors in July 2020, after Covid restrictions forced the business to put their opening date on hold.

The building dates back to 1929 and was formerly the Post Office and Telephone Exchange, and it is the oldest building on Orpington High Street.

The Post Office eventually closed in 2018 and the building has since been repurposed into a modern restaurant and bar for locals, although Royal Mail still operates a sorting office in the building, retaining some of the building’s original purpose.

This Is Local London: Orpington General Post Office Orpington General Post Office (Image: Tom Walker)

The restaurant was founded by owners and managers Tom Walker and Sam Westlake, who both shared a passion for food and started the business in a joint project.

Tom explained: “Sam and I became friends in the military. On leaving we decided we wanted to go into business together, and with a shared passion for food, drink, people and places, hospitality felt like the natural fit.”

This Is Local London: the restaurant serves modern British cuisine the restaurant serves modern British cuisine (Image: Tom Walker)

The restaurant employs a team of staff including chefs such as Angela Hartnet, who formally worked at the Savoy.

The restaurant serves modern British and European cuisine, offering a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu alongside a bar menu featuring wines, beers, and cocktails.

Tom told the News Shopper: “We love historic buildings and architecturally interesting spaces.

“The former post office building dates back to 1929, it’s one of the oldest and best looking buildings on the High Street and is large and airy in side “It was an exciting project and a major renovation, but great to be able to remove the 1990’s internal shop fitout and replace it with a modern and interesting bar/restaurant.”

This Is Local London: Orpington GPO staff membersOrpington GPO staff members (Image: Tom Walker)

According to Tom, some of the restaurant's most popular dishes include their Dirty Burger, which has received 19 Google Reviews, as well as breakfast options like their slow-cooked crumpets and buttermilk pancakes.

He said the spot is also popular with Orpington MP Gareth Bacon who visits often.

Tom added that locals were “excited” to see a former historical building given a new lease-of-life after years of use.

Tom said: “People were very positive, the local community were excited at the prospect of the old Post Office being re-purposed into a modern bar/restaurant with a focus on local produce.

“It’s the heart of the community since 1929.”

This Is Local London: Orpington General Post Office restaurant Orpington General Post Office restaurant (Image: Tom Walker)

The restaurant recently announced that it would be hosting a fundraiser event in support of the MumMum Foundation – a charity supporting families affected by cancer.

The event is set to be held on November 25, 2023 and will allow guests to dine at the restaurant in a black tie event featuring a three-course dinner and music provided by a DJ.

Tom said: ”We’re proud to be part of the community here in the heart of Orpington High Street and delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile local charity.”

“We have close affiliations with various organisations in the community, we sponsor Orpington FC Girls’ Team and try and support local charities and initiatives which help to support and benefit the wider community.”