THIS district of York has changed over the years. Shops have come and gone. Our visit coincided with the announcement that the greengrocers is to reopen, which can only be a good sign.

It was late morning and Thomas’s was busy. Mothers and toddlers were leaving and the early lunchers arriving.

This self-service venue is adjacent to the retail bakery outlet. Sandwiches, melts, paninis, each priced, were displayed in a cabinet. Drinks and other food items could be selected from an easy-to-read board behind the servery.

The short queue at the servery was fast moving, the assistant ensuring that customers, many of whom we judged to be regulars, remembered to take a drink if they were ordering something that had to be heated or cooked.

Jacket potatoes; freshly made salad; cheese, beans or scrambled eggs on toast (£1.85) were not for this visit. We requested Yorkshire tea £2.40 and a cream doughnut for Ann and a chocolate éclair for me (both £1.34). These would be eaten after we had shared a toasted cheese and tomato panini (£2.25). An alternative filling could have been tuna, egg mayo, chicken with Yorkshire bacon or ham with cheese.

The tea came in separate pots, providing us with two cups each, and there was a tiny chocolate to enjoy.

There was a short delay before the panini was delivered to our table. Dividing it we found it to be dangerously hot but very acceptable. To our surprise, this item qualified for a free packet of Kettle crisps, which we took home for another day.

Our cakes were fresh and delicious, so much so that we had to resist the temptation to buy more from the shop next door.

There would appear to be plenty of choice for everyone. Items such as steak bake, sausage rolls, scones and curd tarts were available. For earlier in the day, breakfast cost £3.40 with the continental version at £1.07.

Milk was 80p a glass, with coffee and tea ranging in price up to £1.70.

The café continued to do good business throughout our visit. Staff were helpful and quick to clear tables.

From our vantage point we saw no reference to gluten-free items.