Chef-restaurateur Mitch Tonks and business partner Mat Prowse are set to launch a fourth seafood restaurant, in an undisclosed but ‘sizeable’ investment just nine months after their most recent opening.
They are set to open a 60-cover harbourside eaterie on Torquay’s Victoria Parade.
It will become the third family-friendly venue to open under their RockFish banner and offering an upmarket fish and chips menu designed to encourage diners to savour a local catch.
The business partners, who are also behind acclaimed Dartmouth seafood restaurant Seahorse are currently recruiting to fill the 20 full and part time jobs that will be created by RockFish Torquay’s opening in June.
Award-winning chef Mr Tonks, who champions the use of sustainably-sourced seafood, said: “I have this belief that fish tastes better by the sea; I want my restaurants to be close to the sea and to the fishing industry.”
Last month, the chef backed a high-profile fishing industry campaign to encourage restaurants and retailers to put hake on the menu after the species was named the UK’s most sustainable.
Speaking out in support of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations bid, he said: “Anything we can do to encourage people to try more fresh, sustainable fish while supporting UK fishermen can only be a good thing.”
On his decision to locate his latest restaurant in Torquay, Mr Tonks said: “I live in Torbay and there’s a lot happening Torquay. It makes sense to open here.
“We hope it will be a place that locals will enjoy, with the fish landed just across the bay in Brixham.
“Torquay already has a great restaurant scene and hopefully this will give it even more of a buzz.”
Mr Tonks said that his RockFish Plymouth venue was going from strength to strength since it opened in the city’s Sutton Harbour last July, creating 40 jobs.
Looking at recruitment, he said: “Finding good people is always a challenge, but part of meeting that is being an employer that people want to work for, offering good remuneration, training and prospects.”
With the third RockFish restaurant located in Dartmouth looking ahead, Mr Tonks has not ruled out the possibility of further restaurant openings, saying: “We are always exploring new areas, but are not in a hurry to open our next, yet.
In the meantime, he added, the focus was upon encouraging diners to enjoy good, sustainable seafood and to ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure that the experience patrons old and young have, is second to none.