Retirement on the menu for popular Hartlepool businessman

Krimo with Chris and Laura Wilkinson outside Casa Del Mar at Hartlepool Marina.
Krimo with Chris and Laura Wilkinson outside Casa Del Mar at Hartlepool Marina.

A popular Hartlepool businessman is passing on his recipe for success.

Krimo Bouabda has spent 32 years feeding the people of Hartlepool and beyond in his restaurants. Now it’s time for him to retire.

Restaurant owner Krimo with new owners Chris and Laura Wilkinson in Casa Del Mar.

Restaurant owner Krimo with new owners Chris and Laura Wilkinson in Casa Del Mar.

The businessman has now sold Casa Del Mar at Hartlepool Marina and his one remaining restaurant, Portafino’s, is also in the process of being sold.

Casa Del Mar is being taken over by two long standing employees, husband and wife team, Chris and Laura Wilkinson, and Krimo is hoping that another one of his employees will take over Portofino’s.

Krimo said: “It is really important to me that the restaurants are going to people who have worked at them for a long time and they are now able to look to their own futures.”

He said he has loved every minute of running restaurants in the town, but at 64, he wants to ease himself into retirement.

It has been an absolutely amazing 32 years

Krimo Bouabda

Krimo said: “It has been an absolutely amazing 32 years and the people have been marvellous.

“It’s just come to the point when I think I have done my bit now.”

Chris, head chef, and Laura, manager, met and married while working at Casa del Mar, so for them to take over the tapas bar has delighted Krimo.

He said: “Chris started at Portofino as a part-time pizza chef, 15 years ago, before moving to Casa Del Mar to take over the running of the kitchen in 2011. Laura arrived in 2010 and very quickly rose from part-time waitress to manager.

Krimo with Chris and Laura Wilkinson.

Krimo with Chris and Laura Wilkinson.

“It gives me immense pleasure to see two young people embark on a similar business journey as the one Karen and I started, over thirty-two years ago.

“Casa del Mar is something that I absolutely loved setting up in 2006, after experiencing great tapas while holidaying in Spain.

“The place has such a tremendous buzz about it, that many diners say they feel they’ve been whisked off on a Mediterranean holiday whenever they come down to the Marina to experience the tapas, the atmosphere and the music.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that, with youth on their side, and a great team to work with, Chris and Laura will take Casa del Mar to even greater heights.”

But, there will be no lazing about for Krimo in his retirement, the businessman has a busy schedule planned.

He said: “I think the reality is if you do nothing you would just go round the bend.”

His love of art, live music and his local pub, The Fishermans Arms, will keep him busy and he has also joined Hartlepool Male Voice Choir.