Growing Hartlepool marina restaurant set for move to bigger site in Seaton Carew

A popular restaurant is pressing ahead with plans to move to a bigger and better home in the new year, with owners pledging Hartlepool ‘will not have seen anything like it before’.

By Nic Marko
Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 3:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 3:13 pm
Joe Franks (right) and staff from The Open Jar at their new site in Seaton Carew
Joe Franks (right) and staff from The Open Jar at their new site in Seaton Carew

Bosses at The Open Jar, currently located at Hartlepool Marina, are planning to move into the former Sheesh Mahal in Seaton Carew, with work well underway converting the new premises.

The preparations to move into the new site have been hit by Covid-19 however, with restaurant bosses wanting to organise a ‘celebration’ when it comes to opening the new site.

Owner Joe Franks, from Billingham, has said the new restaurant will be larger, having 110 seats compared to 72 at the current site, and will offer something unique in Hartlepool.

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The 29-year-old said: “It’s really exciting and a positive for us all. We have just outgrew the space that we’re in.

“We weren’t sure at the beginning how it was going to go, but it’s been proved that The Open Jar has been a success in Hartlepool, so it’s worth us investing into the site and the team.

“It’s going to be a restaurant with a bit of a difference, Hartlepool won’t have seen anything like what we’re doing in there before, it’s very much ahead of its time the level of finish we’re going for in there.

“We’re really excited to see what the outcome is going to be like. We’re all just itching to go, itching to get in, the sooner the better.”

He added the new restaurant will feature bespoke artwork, and graffiti artists are currently working to decorate the site.

Work ahead of the move has been progressing well, and Mr Franks said they are ‘playing it by ear’ due to Covid-19 restrictions as to when the move will take place, but hope it could be in the coming months.

He said: “The work’s gone really well, it’s not far away at all, but we’re not going 1,000 miles an hour because of what’s happened with Covid and the restrictions and the rules.

“We’re just playing it by ear and seeing when the restrictions are going to be eased up, because we want it to open and for it to be a bit of a celebration, we want to open and shout about it.

“In an ideal world maybe January time, if restrictions have been eased slightly, hopefully, maybe I’m being optimistic there.”

He added currently The Open Jar is still open for delivery and collection from Hartlepool Marina during the latest lockdown, which has been going well to date.

The current site on Navigation Point has been open for around four and a half years, and Mr Franks added their new home will not face the same parking issues in place beside the marina.

He said: “It leaves people leaving with a bit of a sour taste if they haven’t realised about the parking, the parking is a bit of a deterrent, but we just outgrew that site, that’s the main reason.”

The new restaurant will look to offer an expanded menu featuring a variety of street food options, along with a larger bar area to showcase cocktails.

However Mr Franks added they will still continue to offer their existing dishes, including their popular range of chicken parmos.

Mr Franks has also put in a licensing application to Hartlepool Borough Council to confirm the hours for the new site at Seaton Reach when it opens, along with permission to have music, both live and recorded, and serve alcohol.

He also runs a sister restaurant in Norton, and has plans to open a third site ‘further down the line’ closer to Middlesbrough, adding Coulby Newham and Ingelby Barwick could be potential sites, although nothing is set in stone.

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