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New eateries defy covid doom and gloom

New eateries defy covid doom and gloom

Thursday 27 August 2020

New eateries defy covid doom and gloom

Thursday 27 August 2020

A number of new eateries have been popping up around the island, defying the covid doom and gloom.

In the past few months, local restaurants and cafés have been rising to the challenge of adapting to a number of new restrictions and rules due to the pandemic.

But perhaps the businesses that have been overcoming these odds most notably are the ones that opened either just before or after lockdown restrictions were implemented, having to both create a new customer-base and a name for themselves.

Express has been speaking to some of these businesses, looking at how they are finding alternative and creative ways to establish themselves in the new climate. 



Pictured: The interior of Shinzo, the new sushi restaurant in St Aubin.

St. Aubin’s new sushi restaurant Shinzo opened for its first full trading day last Saturday, after a launch event the prior Wednesday and a soft opening the following day. 

With no financial support from the government, owner Gavin Roberts explained that the process of getting it ready was a labour of community love, defying expectations of doubters that “were telling us we weren’t going to get it open it at all.” 

“It’s a locally-run family business, it’s a strong family network – there were a lot of late nights, we had a terrific building team, close friends were involved.” 

Gavin’s goal is for Shinzo to be “the place to go” for locals, “where they stay there for the whole evening.”

Certain restrictions even suited aspects of the set-up of the restaurant, with Gavin explaining that part of the appeal of Shinzo is the space people can have to talk - “we made sure regardless of restrictions, our tables are spaced out – whilst you can hear people talking, you’re not sat on top of each other.”

Seahorse Coffee Co. Limited


Pictured: Seahorse Coffee, which the owner says has been embraced by the local community.

Community has been a major theme in establishing a business in the current climate.

For Madeleine Maddison, who opened Seahorse Coffee Co. Limited at Gorey on June 5 after having to delay for three months, it has been the regular local support that has made her opening a success: “I’ve had the most amazing local support. Now I get the same people in every day - people who are working from home starting to come out and doing what they used to – and one of those things was getting a cup of coffee.”

She credited these regulars with having alleviated any worries she may have had about opening, calling running the shop “stress-free” and adding that “everyone’s very respectful of the need to stay within certain regulations – there’s no stress on me to impose rules, they’re aware of social distancing.” 

Rabbit Hole

Pictured: Inside the Rabbit Hole, Market Street's latest addition.

Indeed, catering to this local demand has been a big part of Rabbit Hole in St. Helier Market Street's initial opening too.

A partnership between Charlie Krol and Jakob Trocha, the café was bought before the pandemic, with initial plans for a March opening delayed until July. Jakob said that due to the current lack of tourists, they had to shift their menu to a more local emphasis. 

One of the new menu’s biggest successes is its breakfast, which Jakob said is down to its focus and care with its food, using “good ingredients, really good quality.”  

Indeed, the menu has brought in local support, with Jakob adding that “we already have regulars.”

The other key aspect in the café’s first few weeks has been their page on Food.je, which has made up a significant proportion of revenue. Jakob said that it has been “a big help”, honing in on the fact that offering breakfast takeaways “was something missing on the market.”

The Potato Shack

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Our favourite spot at The Shack, Happy Sunday ????

A post shared by The Potato Shack (@woodlandsfarmjersey) onAug 8, 2020 at 9:53pm PDT

Pictured: Outdoors at Woodland Farms' Potato Shack.

Location is also a deeply important aspect for bringing in islanders, particularly after the lockdown period.

As Bryony le Boutillier of Woodland Farms’ newly-built Potato Shack Café stated: “I think people enjoyed the option to go somewhere again and see the scenery instead of being cooped up.” 

She added that even with some poor weather conditions in their first week, “people were really lovely” about sitting out in the gardens and adhering to social distancing rules, giving good feedback about their food. 

Looking to the future, she said she was optimistic despite uncertainties, pointing out that things “change again on the 1 September with the Autumn menu, as so much is based on Jersey produce – so people will be excited to try that."

"We just go with the flow, and make the most of what we can,” she added.

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