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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Llan food entrepreneur opens new seaside cafe


* Phil Brown and co-director Neil Gitton at the Sea Shanty Café in Trearddur Bay.

A pioneering Llangollen food entrepreneur who created 50 new jobs by ploughing more than £1.5m into a seaside café has launched a recruitment drive for extra staff.

Phil Brown, a former schoolmate of Prince Charles, built up the Philpotts bespoke sandwich empire after opening his first shop in Chester, which now has 22 outlets across the UK.

Working with business partner Neil Gitton, he has now launched the Sea Shanty Café in Trearddur Bay, Anglesey. 

The restaurant (pictured right) celebrates beaches, holidays and the village’s links with sailing and local history.

The nautically-themed bistro, just a stone’s throw from the beach,  stands on the spot - and bears the name - of an old wooden café that was once a much loved haunt of holidaymakers for decades.

The new café’s ceiling is hung with historic sailing boats, while the walls are decorated with sand and shells collected from beaches around the world plus other sailing memorabilia and curiosities.

So successful has the Sea Shanty become it now employs more than 50 full and part-time staff.

“We have been open less than six months,” said Phil, who grew up in Neston, and began his working career as a journalist on the Birkenhead News.

"Demand is growing so fast we need to be recruiting more staff at all levels, if we are going to be able to cope with Easter and the summer season.

 “Being open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner seven days a week is taxing our nine superb chefs so we know that when spring arrives we will need more, if we are to maintain the level of service we now offer.

“These are extra roles to the seasonal staff we will be taking on for the summer.

“We are delighted to have found favour with local people in particular,” added Phil.

“There’s been a real trend for groups and families to come along, because the set up of our seating area means we can easily cater for up to 145 diners and my personal pleasure is the number of characterful dogs we welcome.

“The ambience of the café is tangible. Children and adults alike are fascinated by the boats in the ceiling and vintage outboard motors etc and the beach-combing bags for children are a real ‘people pleaser’. Even the toilets have charm with the sound of breaking waves on the shore in the Ladies and the shipping forecast in the Gents.”

Phil’s co-director is former chef Neil Gitton, who previously worked with Phil at Philpotts after gaining restaurant experience with pub chain Brunning and Price.

Neil said: “This part of Anglesey seems to be getting increasingly popular with day trippers from Ireland and other visitors, who stop off after a ferry crossing - we regularly get Scottish and Irish notes in the day’s takings.

“This is the Riviera of Wales, it is a beautiful spot and has so much to offer. Talking to other local businesses, they are also seeing an increase in trade, which is good news and shows that Trearddur Bay is seen as a destination in its own right, not simply a place that tourists pass through,” he added.

The Sea Shanty Café on Lon St Ffraid is open daily from 9am until late, and also has an popular Edwardian-style ice-cream parlour.

The establishment has  won rave write-ups from foodies, families and tourists on online sites such as TripAdvisor and OnionRing.

More details about opening times and menus at  seashantycafe.co.uk or call 01407 728200.

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