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Sandy’s takes over Folkestone restaurant The Smokehouse

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The Smokehouse Folkestone

A fish and chip restaurant in Folkestone, Kent, once run by celebrity chef Mark Sargeant is to reopen this summer under a new owner.

Andrew Burnett, who owns Sandy’s Takeaway a few doors down, has taken over The Smokehouse from the Rocksalt Group.

The restaurant, located within a converted smokehouse overlooking Folkestone Harbour, first opened in 2011 with Mark at the helm. He parted from the Rocksalt Group in 2021 and The Smokehouse closed its doors shortly after.

Andrew plans to reopen the business as Sandy’s Restaurant in time for the summer season with 40 covers inside and a further 10 outside.

The menu will be eat-in only and will consist of just four items – three species of fish and one shellfish – dictated by what the local boats land each day. The catch will be offered grilled and fried and will be 100% gluten free.

Unlike The Smokehouse, which served its food in cardboard boxes and with wooden forks, Sandy’s is returning to china plates and cutlery.

Andrew first looked at the business last year but, with the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis, he remained cautious. With inflation recently showing signs of slowing and trade consistent at his takeaway, Andrew approached the landlord once more.

He comments: “We are very excited to be expanding Sandy’s as we’re only a takeaway and in the winter months people want to sit down and eat their fish and chips inside.

“We’re keeping the menu simple, we won’t even be doing sausages or pies. It will be what the local fishermen catch fresh on the day so, in essence, it’s straight from the sea onto a plate.”

The building features a double-height dining area and a fully fitted kitchen. Andrew adds: “The whole building is a work of art, the architecture is something else.

“If you’re designing a chip shop and money was no object, that is how it’s kitted out, it’s fantastic. It has everything we need already there, although we are considering putting a mezzanine floor in the restaurant because the view out across the harbour is stunning.”

Andrew has reassured his takeaway customers that Sandy’s is not moving and nothing at the takeaway will change, although he does suggest further expansion is likely.

“That’s the most important thing: the price and product at Sandy’s Takeaway will not change,” says Andrew.

“I have such a passion for this industry, I love it, and opening Sandy’s Restaurant to me is the next stage. There are going to be a lot of chapters to this book…I’m looking at a third shop because I know the product we provide is good and there’s no reason why we can’t roll that out again.”

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