Ben Wall and Neil Bassett are set to transform the historic Bay Shelter on Seaburn’s Lower Promenade as they look to bring a high-quality seafood restaurant to Wearside.
The pair, who are also partners in Mexico 70, The Little Shop and The Ship Isis, applied to take over the shelter last year and have now been chosen to breathe new life into the site.
Sunderland born and raised, both Ben and Neil have stated that the opportunity is “once in a lifetime” and set out what people can expect when the restaurant opens.
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Ben said: “We knew as soon as we saw the shelter hit the market that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I mean, how many restaurants are there in the North East where you can step out of the door and immediately be leaving footprints in the sand?
“It’s location, being tucked away next to the shoreline, also means we can offer a real authentic experience, which is something we’ve taken great pride in in the past.
"Our vision is to create an all-day seafront restaurant, showcasing contemporary dining in a stunning but unstuffy and unpretentious relaxed environment and we can’t wait to get started."
Neil has highlighted that they now feel like they have a responsibility to make sure that the people of Sunderland can be proud of what they create.
He added: “We know – due to the history and uniqueness of its location – that we have a responsibility to do this well for Sunderland and we’ll certainly give it our all to ensure we do just that as we have a huge love for the city.
“When we opened Mexico 70, a lot of people asked us why we didn’t open in Newcastle. Our response to that was, why not Sunderland? We have everything here we need. Amazing people, a thriving independent scene and a seafront to rival anywhere in the country.
“Add to that the city’s rich fishing and maritime heritage and we are confident that we can deliver something truly unique for Sunderland that will attract people from across the region.”
The leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Graeme Miller, has expressed his confidence in the duo at making the venue a sucess.
He commented: “From the regeneration of High Street West and the Elephant Tea Rooms to the ongoing of the heritage buildings at Roker and Seaburn, we are committed to ensuring that – wherever possible – we preserve and enhance our most cherished buildings, and it’s fantastic to have Ben and Neil really buying into this vision.
“Through their work at The Ship Isis and Mexico 70, as well as countless other business ventures, they’ve proved not only how passionate they are about doing business in the city, but also improving the city’s cultural offering, and we are confident that their latest venture will prove to be another huge hit.”