Ben Crittenden's Michelin-starred restaurant Stark in Broadstairs, Kent, has moved into a larger site on the same road as the original.
The concept has moved from 1 Oscar Road to 15 Oscar Road and Crittenden confirmed that the menu and the service remain the same.
"The idea was to try to recreate what we had atmosphere-wise in the original, but to be able to do a couple of extra covers," Crittenden told The Caterer. "I think we've done a pretty good job. It looks completely different, but the food's the same, the service is the same, it's still just me [in the kitchen]."
The new, larger space means he has a bigger kitchen and has invested in more equipment, as he felt he had reached the limit of what he could achieve with the old restaurant.
He said: "Now we've got slightly more space, the idea once we're up and running and can take the full capacity, is to work on how to push things forward a bit more without changing what we do. It'll still be the same concepts and ideas, but maybe an extra course or something like that."
The restaurant also has its own toilet, unlike the last space, and two more covers than the first, up from 12 to 14. However, social distancing restrictions has meant he can currently only sit eight to 12 in the restaurant.
He has invested £40,000 in the former café and most recently Pasta Co restaurant, having taken it on in February 2019. He and his father started the refurbishment last summer and had hoped to launch it in April, but the coronavirus lockdown delayed completion of the works. He finally opened on 5 August.
Crittenden said the restaurant is already fully booked for the next 60 days, but he is concerned about a local lockdown: "I'm just nervous about getting shut down again. I can see it happening but I'm praying it doesn't. I don't know if I'd survive another lockdown, financially or mentally."
Crittenden still owns the 1 Oscar Road site, which he plans to turn into a tapas bar, serving beers, wines and small plates, and which guests can use for pre- or after dinner drinks. He hopes it will provide an extra revenue stream, however, due to social distancing restrictions, he cannot yet reopen the space.
The chef previously worked as head chef at Graham Garrett's Michelin-starred West House restaurant with rooms in Biddenden, Ashford. He decided to go solo after six years and transformed a former sandwich shop into his first restaurant, Stark, which won a Michelin star in the 2020 Guide.
Photos: Hannah Caitlin
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