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Kent Restaurant of the Year Finalist 2022: The Waterfront, Hythe

Established in the autumn of 2020 during the height of the Covid pandemic, The Waterfront is an exciting new restaurant and cocktail bar.

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Managed by an excellent team of 50 local staff, the restaurant specialises in fresh, seasonal and regional ingredients.

Located on Hythe seafront, the restaurant (previously known as Hythe Bay Fish Restaurant) has been through an extensive refurbishment with an eclectic and stunning interior and exterior design, bringing both the warmth and character back to the restaurant.

Open from 9am until late, seven days a week, the restaurant offers a brand-new menu of high-quality dishes and daily specials designed by our expert head chefs. The menu incorporates fresh Kentish ingredients, including a local catch of the day.

Whether you are dining inside taking in the stunning view of the English Channel, sitting out on the sun terrace or enjoying a family Sunday roast listening to live jazz, The Waterfront provides the ultimate fine-dining experience.

Previously Hythe Bay Fish Restaurant, The Waterfront was founded in autumn 2020 during the peak of the Covid pandemic.

The new owners, barrister Annie Johnston and her partner Tony, were regular visitors to the Hythe Bay Fish Restaurant. On learning from the previous owner that he was selling the business, they offered to buy it on the spot. Annie knew with the restaurant’s excellent location, and her partner's experience in establishing bars and restaurants in London, they could make it a roaring success.

Over the first few months, experienced restaurant manager David White was appointed as general manager and they set about hiring a team of local staff.

A project to completely renovate the building was started and the new team identified local food and drink suppliers and designed a menu incorporating as much fresh, local and seasonal produce as possible.

Not long after, the pandemic hit, forcing them to close the restaurant for seven months. As the staff were
new to the business, they did not qualify for the government furlough scheme and so, to keep the staff
employed over this period, the restaurant was opened for takeaway tea, coffee and cake. While some
staff ran the takeaway business, others worked on the restaurant refurbishment. In December 2021,
a temporary exterior shack was built so that customers who were not comfortable going inside a venue
could safely purchase takeaway food and drink from outside.

The efforts to keep the staff employed over this period were greatly appreciated. The business does not charge customers any service charge, and 100% of any tips is split between all the staff. These benefits, along with the great support from the senior management team, have resulted in a very happy, dedicated and loyal team of staff.

Since the lockdowns finished and the restaurant reopened, it has gone from strength to strength. It now has
a larger team of staff, fantastic new menus, regular live music, weekly fresh flower displays and thousands
of great reviews.

2022 will be the most exciting and busy year for The Waterfront to date. Not only will it be the first
full summer that the restaurant has been open, but the temporary outdoor shack will now serve food, drinks, milkshakes and ice cream, with its own dedicated outdoor seating area.