Restaurant famous for its standing in the racing world is closing as owners retire
- Credit: Archant
For almost 40 years it has been hailed as the last word in luxury when it comes to fish.
But in the next few weeks a Great Yarmouth restaurant famous for its standing in the racing world will serve its loyal customers for the final time.
Miriam and Chris Kikis of The Seafood Restaurant in North Quay have been busy messaging many of their customers, especially those who live out of the area, about their retirement at the end of March.
In racing terms they have had stayed the distance and been on top form while others have fallen at the first fence.
But the final romp to victory means saying goodbye to a business that has drawn plaudits from across the globe serving all the big names from the world of racing as well as top celebrities, royalty and even an astronaut.
Mrs Kikis, 60, said they were bowing out with a heavy heart.
Over the 39 years they had introduced sceptical diners to the joys of shark steak and monk fish, serving up samphire long before it was trendy and always insisting on the best produce.
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And while the oil business and holiday trade had fallen away their core customer base remained loyal and appreciative of what they did.
“We were the first fish restaurant in Norfolk possibly East Anglia,” Mrs Kikis said.
“Steak was popular and we were the first to serve shark steak and octopus and people were intrigued.
“Now we have come to an age where we have worked hard for 39 years. We want to retire now while our health is pretty good and we can travel and visit our family in Cyprus and enjoy life.
“This business is not a job, it’s a way of life. As much as we enjoy it, it is hard work but it is with great sadness that we are leaving because we have met some wonderful people over the years.”
Of the last night on March 31 Mrs Kikis said: “It is going to be emotional.
“For 39 years it has been our life. We met some wonderful people and made some long-lasting friends. But it is hard work and we have been very hands-on. We have no airs and graces, we all muck in. That is what our customers appreciate.
“In this business you really have to love what you do, put the customer first and care about what you serve.”
Through the decades
The sheer volume of press cuttings, celebrity snaps, and endorsements is testimony to the success of The Seafood Restaurant over its 39 years.
Started by Chris Kikis, now 68, and his brother John in 1979 as “something different” it took off and the public was soon converted to the new tastes.
When his wife Miriam came on board the restaurant became synonymous with the couple who became as much a part of the experience as the food.
The building on an unlovely corner of North Quay has discreetly hosted many famous names and carved a high-end niche for itself, drawing diners from far and wide.
It was once a Lacons pub and records show it stands on the site of a beer house called Stuff of Life which was sold to the brewery in 1895.
While much has changed over the years, some things have stayed constant - they still have the same fish buyer they started out with who still goes to Lowestoft fish market every morning.
The restaurant’s final day will be on Saturday March 31.