Her shop is one of the most well known on Smithdown Road but after more than 40 years of baking cheese cakes, ‘Dafna’ has decided to hang up her apron and retire.

Anne Lev, who to many of her loyal customers will always be ‘Dafna’, has stepped down from behind the counter of her much-loved shop.

Thankfully Dafna’s Cheese Cake Factory is set to continue in her name.

Anne has said her goodbyes, having finished on Thursday, October 3, which was almost 42 years to the day since she opened in 1977. The shop is now being run by Helen Bond, who has been the manager there for the last five years.

Anne Lev, who is retiring and handing over the keys of Smithdown Road's infamous Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory
Anne Lev, who is retiring and handing over the keys of Smithdown Road's infamous Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory

When Anne began telling her customers she was retiring, it’s no surprise to hear that many were worried.

“They thought it would be the end for Dafna's and if it hadn’t been for Helen taking over it could have been. Anyone could have bought it and turned it into something totally different, and I would have hated that.”

Anne insists Dafna’s Cheese Cake Factory is being left in excellent hands. “Helen is going to carry on with the same ethos - to make cakes which really bring the homemade touch and to keep the nostalgic air about the shop. We’ve always had an old fashioned feel and people love it, they really do.

Inside Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory
Inside Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory

“I’ve enjoyed all my years here. It’s been wonderful and we’ve had wonderful customers coming again and again.”

It’s her loyal customers who have brought Anne her most cherished memories over the years.

“People who came in when they were a student in Liverpool, now come back to see the shop when they’re visiting their own children who are now studying in Liverpool - which is a really lovely thing. It means a lot to me that the shop is important enough to them to be on their list of things to revisit in the city.”

Inside Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory
Inside Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory

The foundations for Dafna’s Cheese Cake Factory began when Anne started making cakes at home, while working as a teacher in early 1970s. She had such good feedback from family and friends that she started selling them in a local deli. Within five years she was making so many, she opened her own shop on Smithdown Road, where it remains today.

 
Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory
Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory

When the ECHO visited the shop in 2016 , Anne revealed how the shop got its name. Dafna, she explained, was taken from a boat her husband owned in the 1970s. “And my children were reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I started my business, so I put the two together.”

Inside Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory
Inside Smithdown Road's Dafna's Cheese Cake Factory

Despite handing over the reins, it’s not quite the end of Anne’s involvement at Dafna’s. “I’m going to be the chocolate lady," she said. “We sell our own chocolates and make all the packaging and I’m going to do that. That’s going to be my hobby during retirement.”

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