THE North East’s newest fish restaurant opens today (Friday) following the transformation of an iconic South Shields landmark.
A ribbon cutting ceremony at Colmans Seafood Temple took place yesterday with children Westoe Crown Primary School, and members of the Ord family who conceived the scheme.
The transformation of Gandhi’s Temple – an 85-year old former bandstand and seating area on the seafront – has been completed by Sunderland firm Brims Construction.
Huge crowds are expected today and the 40 new members of staff, led by general manger Alex Vladoiu, are prepared for a busy opening day.
The new Ord family restaurant will complement their well-known Colmans fish and chip restaurant and take-away on Ocean Road, South Shields.
Richard Ord, junior, who will run the new venture along with general manger Alex, said: “After years of planning and preparation we are thrilled to be opening Colman’s Seafood Temple.
“We are extremely happy with the excellent work undertaken by Brims Construction and our other contractors and are now in the final stages of preparation for the big day.
“We have been blown away by the level of interest. It has been overwhelming and the two soft opening we’ve trialled have gone down a storm, with people not wanting to leave the restaurant. We are expecting to be very busy for the opening days and coming weeks.”
Colmans Seafood Temple hosts a cocktail and oyster bar and a takeaway service and will feature its famous fish and chips, which have been served to dignitaries across the globe.
Jason Wood, director at Brims Construction, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work on the new Colmans Seafood Temple which is a fantastic addition to South Shields.
“Converting a former bandstand into a high-specification restaurant has been challenge which we have risen to with excellent results.”
Mr Ord added: “As a family business ourselves it was great to collaborate with another family business in Brims. We worked really closely with them and they were fantastic.”
The new restaurant is a boon for the local fishing community; it has agreed to take a selection of the day’s catch for the daily specials board.
Earlier this year the Westoe Crown Primary School buried a Time Capsule under the school featuring everyday items to be opened in 300 years time.
A plaque has been installed in the new seafood restaurant informing customers of this link to the future, and the past.
Gandhi’s Temple on Sea Road was originally built as a community seating shelter and public toilets in 1931 and later used as bandstand – although no-one knows how its name came about.
The shelter sits on the eastern side of Sea Road, adjacent to Sandhaven Beach and Gypsies Green Stadium, South Shields.