An “ecstatic” cafe owner has spoken fondly about her loyal customers after her business was bumped up to a four-star hygiene rating from a zero.

Dee Dee’s Café, on Sotherby Road in Middlesbrough, received the improved rating following a visit on February 7. This comes after the popular spot was given the lowest possible score after an inspection in November last year.

Owner Amanda Watson is over the moon with the new rating. She said: “I am absolutely ecstatic. I never had any doubt whatsoever that we weren’t able to achieve it, it was silly errors [at the November inspection].”

Amanda said she told the council’s inspector she kept high standards every day, not just during a visit. She added: “We are really happy and the staff work really hard but this is how we work each day and run the cafe. We have to, we have to keep a clean cafe. I am really happy and glad I paid the money.”

The cafe owner spent £150 on another visit as she used the free re-inspection she was entitled to after she was given a two rating last August. The price has since increased to £165.

Amanda said: “We are lucky we are so busy, we have 50 school children who come in just for their lunches before we even start on our own customers.That enabled me to have the funds for the re-inspection. If it took 10 times £165 that’s exactly what I would have paid because I had no doubt whatsoever that we weren’t capable.

“Luckily for us, it didn’t affect our takings, which I was very concerned about with cost of living and our electricity and gas bills have gone ridiculous and I was worried I’d have to lay people off. I think it’s because of the loyalty and the time we have been around, people know what’s a good cafe and what’s not – they all stood by us and I thought that was really nice.

“I was just over the moon and I have no doubt when they’re due again that we will achieve the five stars.”

She said the changes requested by Middlesbrough Council, which included checking the temperature of food as soon as it came out of the oven and replacing a kitchen unit, were done within 24 hours of the zero inspection.