Amble restaurants prepare for reopening
Even as restaurants and bars in Amble prepare to reopen their premises, it will be some time before anything like a cafe society resumes.
Relief that doors can finally reopen, is tinged with concern about the future; about how systems will work in practice and whether a reduced number of tables, limited menus and fewer customers will make financial sense for the businesses in the next few months.
We spoke to a few local eateries as they prepared for reopening and learned about their struggles over the weeks in lockdown, and their determination for the days ahead. Everyone expressed their hope that customers will be understanding with regard to the new regulations.
The Old Boat House and The Fish Shack
Martin Charlton, chef and owner of The Old Boat House and the Fish Shack told The Ambler he was pleased to be reopening, but his biggest concern was with keeping people safe. “We’re not in a rush to open on 4 July, we need to get the alterations finished, and the online ordering system sorted. So instead we’re looking at extending our opening hours. We’ll be open from at least 11am offering brunch.”
With the number of tables reduced by around 30%, there can be no walk-ins. Customers will have to book ahead for both the Old Boat House and the Fish Shack, and can order using a web-based ordering system. The Old Boat House are on Facebook: Ring them on 01665 711 232 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
During lockdown Martin admitted he had had some sleepless nights. “It’s been tough, horrendous. We’ve had our ups and downs and we’ve been hit financially. But we’ve always been a flexible family, and Ruth my wife has been incredible. She’s the driving force behind our success. But it has been an incredibly stressful time. I worry we will have to let people go.”
The alterations in the seating area last year, and installation of a new kitchen have been fortuitous, allowing Martin and his team to provide the takeaways, which has provided a strong income stream. “We started the takeaways and they’ve been hugely successful, so we will keep on with them and the deliveries for the time being. Especially if there’s going to be a second wave of the virus. ”
Despite the headaches, Martin was upbeat, and full of praise for the Amble community. “You can’t criticise the Amble workforce, and their willingness to work. They have been integral to our success. And we want to thank everyone who has supported us with our takeaways and deliveries. We are really appreciative of the support from the local community.”
Ryan Humphrys, owner and chef at Jasper’s Bistro will continue to offer gourmet takeaways, but the restaurant itself will not reopen for the time being.
Ryan told The Ambler, “We shall be expanding our offering to include breakfast, gourmet burgers, deep fried cod and beef dripping chips (posh nosh) with the Jasper’s stamp on it. We’ll also be adapting our opening times from 8am to 7.30pm or similar (check Jasper’s Facebook page or ring 07853 449465)
Sea & Soil Bistro
Jonny Bird and Julie Lunn-Bird of Sea & Soil told us how they had been preparing for reopening: “We are really looking forward to welcoming our guests back old and new to Sea & Soil. The guidelines that have been put in place are to protect us all so that we can all get back to some sort of normality, however we have had to reduce the amount of seating within the restaurant and there will be a range of extra new procedures to keep the team and guests safe.
“Although it has been hard to adapt our business over the past 3+ months we would like to thank all of our wonderful customers that have supported us with our take out service. During lockdown period we have taken the time to set up our kitchen garden and look forward to serving the fruits of our labour.”
Ring Sea & Soil on 01665 713569, or see their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SeaandSoilAmble/
The Wellwood Arms
The Wellwood Arms will reopen at 8am on 4 July, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, teas coffees, soft drinks and range of alcoholic beverages through out the day. General Manager Mark Rea said: “While the pub has been closed for business, we have been working hard to provide you with a safer environment in the fight against coronavirus.”
As with everyone else we spoke to, Mark accepted how strange the new procedures may be, but asked for customer goodwill. There are several changes taking place at the Wellwood Arms and you can see all of them listed on their Facebook page. Some of the changes include:
– Table service only for food and drink.
– Lead person’s name and telephone to be logged as part of track and trace system.
– Waiters will be equipped with hand held tills and debit/credit card machines in order to speed up the service
– Key operated ‘one in one out’ system for toilets.
There will be no Sunday Carvery for the foreseeable future. Sunday roast dinners will be served to tables and a platter on each table will be available for self service. There will be no pre-bookings for tables on Sundays, however they are extending their serving times, from 12 noon to 7pm. In addition, they are offering a takeaway-and delivery service seven days per week.
“We can’t wait to reopen and look forward reacquainting with old faces and welcoming new customers. Whilst these changes may seem onerous, we are confident that the new norm will quickly become a way of life,” said Mark.
Contact the Wellwood Arms on 01665 714646 or see their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WellwoodArmsAmble/
“It has been really hard,” said Angie Thompson, of Angie’s Tavern. She admitted to a few tears over the last three months, but funnelled her frustrations into redecorating the popular bar on Queen Street. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster and I sometimes wondered –is it worth it? But I’ve put too much money in now and we are complying with all the government regulations. It’s really hard, but after all this we feel like we’ve got to open.”
Inside, customers will see social distancing posters, hand sanitising, and there will be extra toilet checks in place. The venue will be limited to 30 customers at a time and staff will have to take people’s names and phone numbers, which are to be kept securely for 21 days. Customers can book a table by phone 01665 713160 or via their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/angies.tav.9
“We just ask that customers be understanding,” said Angie. “I will have zero tolerance of abuse to my staff. We are none of us experts in this, we are all trying our best.”
Spurreli Boutique Icecream
Spurreli have been serving take away ice cream and recently re-opened their outside seating, but they will open inside again from 11 July. “We’re raring to go,” said co-owner Katie Spurr. “We’ll be using all disposables so there’s no washing up to do. And now that the restaurants are re-opening, our wholesale side is starting up again. It’s been amazing seeing the community come alive again. People saying ‘Welcome back’ to us. It’s been incredible.”
Phone them on 01665 710890 or see the Spurrelli Facebook page: