New eaterie set for seaside resort

A RESTAURANT which left customers mystified when it closed suddenly is set to become an upmarket eating and meeting venue, it was announced today.

A RESTAURANT which left customers mystified when it closed suddenly is set to become an upmarket eating and meeting venue, it was announced today.

Felixstowe's Bencotto restaurant, a popular venue with pensioners for more than two decades, and its café have been bought by Tim Yeo, owner of The Alex restaurant on the resort's seafront.

The Bencotto in Hamilton Road closed suddenly last month after the family who had run it for many years decided to retire from the business.

The building, which stands on the site used as the town's fire station up until the late 1960s, is now to become a continental-style meeting and eating place with a modern interior.

It is likely to be at least a year before the new venue - as yet unnamed - opens its doors.

Mr Yeo, who also runs the Black Tiles at Martlesham, said he had been searching for some time for a venue in which to build a relaxed, all-day meeting place.

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He said: “Looking around the premises I felt, instinctively, that the property has plenty of potential and I am still deciding exactly how to develop the new business here.

“We will probably strip the interior back to its brick lining; take a look at the wooden aspects, beams and so forth and re-build the interior around the original architectural features.

“We were delighted to discover that the arches on the front of the building still seem intact and hopefully these can be restored.

”Surrounded by wooden floors, leather seating and exposed brickwork, we won't be running an up-market Italian restaurant - which some people have already asked me about - but pizza, pasta and Mediterranean food is something I love and have always wanted to have a go at, particularly in Felixstowe.

“The building will determine the vibe of the place and at the moment I really don't want to pinpoint what the end result will be apart from that it will have a sociable, definitely European appeal and will be accessible to all.”

n Is this development what Felixstowe town centre needs? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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