THE owner of a popular seafront cafe has reassured customers it will not be closing after he put it up for sale.

Rodney Posner plans to retire and has put The Meeting Place Cafe, which is close to the Brighton and Hove boundary, on the market.

He has run the seafront venue for more than 40 years and in that time it has become a city institution.

He promised it would remain open until a new owner is found, saying: “It’s too popular to close. The business is up for sale because I am looking to retire.

“There is no definite date for the sale and nothing has yet been confirmed.

“If a buyer fell through I would make sure the cafe stays open.”

Visitors outside The Meeting Place yesterday morning were saddened by the news.

Carolyn Birkhead, 56, and Kira Kirke, 21, stopped by the cafe on a visit from Oxfordshire.

Carolyn said: “The food and drink is glorious.

“We’re only here for one night but we couldn’t walk past the place without stopping. The display, the smell – it was irresistible.

“We’re open to anything in Brighton and we’re glad we found this place.”

Michael and Joan Trussell, from Hove, said it was “a shame” the cafe is up for sale.

They said: “The terrace is spectacular and everyone knows it’s a great spot to meet friends. All the dog owners love it too. The staff do a great job. There are quite a few of us who go down in the summer. The location is ideal. It’s a local institution. We moved from London four years ago and the first thing everyone said was ‘you’ve got to go to The Meeting Place’.

The cafe is being advertised on the online business estate agents The listing says the business has an annual turnover of more than £500,000, and the rent is £25,000 a year.

In 2002, locals were dismayed to hear the cafe was being demolished – only to find it was being moved 10ft over the Brighton-Hove boundary to expand in line with regulations.

Mr Posner originally wanted to expand on the existing site in Hove, near the Brighton boundary. But he was unable to get permission because Brunswick Gardens, Hove, was covered by a preservation order.

There was no such restriction on the alternative site just 10ft away on the Brighton side of the boundary.