See inside new look Downey's Roker restaurant as it opens for first time since lockdown
The Roker branch of Downey’s restaurants has opened for the first time since lockdown - and it looks the plaice to be.
While the local chain of fish and chip shops has still been reeling in plenty of customers for take away chippy teas throughout the pandemic, the sit-in side of its Roker branch has been closed since March 2020.
But it’s now back open with a new look, and new food and drink menu options to tuck into.
Downey’s was the first restaurant to open in the new Pier Point development eight years ago and has remained a firm favourite throughout.
But owner Glen Downey used the time in lockdown to update its look and maximise the space at the 32-cover restaurant.
"We used to have big booths along the front window and couples of two would come in and use them, so we’ve created more seating options and given it a more up-to-date look,” explained the Sunderland businessman.
As well as a new look, there’s new menu choices such as seafood tapas bowls, with options such as battered langoustines, hot and spicy breaded prawns and mussels with garlic butter or tomato and chilli sauce, which have proved popular at the Stack Seaburn site.
There’s also an increased alcohol offering, with a better range of beers and wines for people to enjoy with their meal.
As well as Stack, Downey’s has branches in Seaham, Barnes, Pallion and West Rainton, all of which have been a source of comfort food during the pandemic.
“We’ve been flying with take aways during the lockdowns, but people have been keen to sit back in at the Roker site, it’s such a great spot,” said Glen.
"We were the first ones in the new Pier Point and have seen a lot of changes in that time. It’s gone crazy down here now and it has great footfall, there’s so much choice for people and we all offer something different. Even when it’s freezing, it’s really busy.
"People are very keen on supporting local and they like that these are all independents.”
*Downey’s at Roker is open 11am until 7pm seven days a week, and until 8pm in the summer months.