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James Sommerin left ‘devastated’ by restaurant closure as he issues plea to customers

Published:  24 July, 2020

Top chef James Sommerin has spoken about the cruel circumstances surrounding the closure of his family restaurant after the pressures of Covid-19 became too much to bear.

As one of only a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants in Wales, the loss of the Penarth restaurant will be felt by many.

Speaking on Twitter late last night, he confirmed the restaurant would not reopen when lockdown restrictions are lifted in the country on 3 August.

“As a family, we’re completely devastated about the closure of the restaurant,” he said. “We never intended for this to happen and with six years of us building something we were so proud of, to have it taken away, through no fault of our own it’s really hard to put into words. No grants, no bounce back loans. We tried to keep things going.”

“It’s really upsetting,” he said.

The chef also asked customers with un-used vouchers for the restaurant to “bear with” the business as it navigates this difficult situation.

“To be threatened with Trip Advisor and reporting to Michelin because we can’t give instant answers, I just don’t know what to say. Please bare with us,” he said, along with the hashtags #family #shittimes #frustration.

The tweet was met with an outpouring of support from both the trade and customers, with Manchester-based chef and restauranteur Gary Usher promising to “stick by you, chef. All the important people to you will. All your friends and family. All your loyal guests and everyone that knows how passionate you are about restaurants will stick by you,” he said.

After setting up in 2014, the seafront restaurant pivoted to a takeaway service during lockdown in May.

Mountings debts however and an increasingly difficult environment for Michelin starred venues mean the restaurant will not be re-opening its doors when lockdown eases for the hospitality industry in Wales on 3 August.