Thomas Carr closes Seafood & Grill restaurant after nine months

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Thomas Carr closes Seafood & Grill restaurant after nine months
Chef Thomas Carr has closed his Seafood & Grill restaurant in Devon just nine months after it opened with the help of a crowdfunding campaign.

The Ilfracombe site launched in February after 226 backers helped the chef raise over £24,000 on Kickstarter.

The restaurant was recommended in the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2019 and received a broadly positive review from Jay Rayner in The Observer​, who said the it “demanded to be liked” despite some “growing pains”.

But Carr announced today that the restaurant had shut after struggling in a “tough economic climate”.

“This is really bittersweet for us,” he says. “We’re immensely proud of the recognition that the Seafood & Grill has gained in such a short time and of the fantastic team that worked so hard together, but the reality is that in a tough economic climate, it is extremely hard to maintain such a high standard of food and service in a restaurant the size of the Seafood & Grill whilst still being able to run a profitable business.”

Seafood & Grill head chef Chris Essex will now be joining Carr in the kitchen at his Michelin-starred Olive Room restaurant in Ilfracombe, which remains open.

The sister site launched in 2014 after Carr worked with Nathan Outlaw, and has held a star since 2016.

Carr says the team is working to contact anyone who had purchased vouchers, had reservations at the Seafood & Grill or unused Kickstarter rewards, with the intention of offering them tables at the Olive Room.

“All I can say at the end of the day, we tried,” he says. “A lot of chefs struggle with their second restaurant and I can see why, but we had to give it a go and it’s certainly an experience we’ve learnt from.

“We’re now even more committed to keep building The Olive Room and do our part to ensure that Ilfracombe remains the foodie capital of Devon.”

Related topics: Venues

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