HEAVY snow did not deter friends and supporters of the new owners of Lyme Regis’ trendy new café bar, SWIM, from attending the opening launch on Sunday.
Dozens of them converged on the seafront premises with glorious views over Lyme Bay, anxious to see if the project will live up to the owners’ ambition of creating “the best seaside café bar in the South West”.
From what they saw on Sunday, the over-riding reaction was that their expectations have not been overstated. I have no doubt their burning ambitions will reach fruition. Combine the setting with the experience and success they achieved in a relatively short time in the catering industry, they are on to a sure-fire winner.
SWIM will enhance, and possibly lead, Lyme’s growing reputation as a foodie resort. The former Bay The Bay restaurant, then owned by Tony and Stephanie Colston, has been acquired by the team that turned The Bull in Bridport into one of Dorset’s most popular boutique hotels and also built The Stable pizza, pie and cider restaurant chain across the UK before selling out to Fullers Brewery.
They have invested heavily in completely remodelling the town council-owned Marine Parade premises, converting the restaurant into a stylish café bar focussing on craft drinks and an “impeccable menu at affordable prices”.
As part of the conversion, floor to ceiling glazing has been installed, making the most of the views over the Jurassic Coast, and an extended outside seating area to increase the number of covers.
After serving delicious finger food and ensuring everyone had a glass or three of bubbly, co-owner and founder Richard Cooper seized the DJ’s mic to thank all those for attending their launch. He spoke how they had started The Stable chain about six years ago by utilising a room at the back of The Bull Hotel in Bridport to sell pizzas.
He told the crowd: “We had no idea what we were doing but we just loved doing it and it grew and grew and now we are here.”
Richard joked about the challenges in converting the premises, managing the project through a WhatsApp group, and he thanked all those who had worked so hard to reach their deadline for opening. He also paid tribute to his staff, who he referred to as ‘Swimmers’, and his fellow co-owners, wife Nikki, Kyle McLeod and Andy Briggs, who after Richard’s speech posed for photos to record the occasion.
He concluded his speech by saying: “This is SWIM and it is what it is.”
Talking to me after the opening, Richard said that as well as opening for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails all-year round, they were anxious that SWIM play an active and supportive role in the community life of Lyme Regis.