'We were only open 20 days before the first lockdown' - First time restaurant owner optimistic after difficult first year
- Credit: The Algarve
A fine dining restaurant in Potters Bar, which provides traditional Portuguese food with 'a lot of love and a bit of magic', celebrated a busy reopening evening on Monday, May 17.
Restaurant owner Pedro Silva opened The Algarve, his first restaurant, in February 2020 - less than a month before the first lockdown.
The restaurant boasts a variety of traditional Portuguese meals and wines imported direct from a number of Portuguese regions.
"We were only open 20 days before the first lockdown," Pedro told this paper. "I invested all my life savings in here - it's a family run restaurant.
"When they announced the lockdown, I just can't explain the feeling."
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Pedro has been involved with catering all his life but it is his first time being owning a restaurant, which he described as his "little baby".
The restaurant was fully booked on the first night back and has very busy first week booked.
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Which comes as a relief after a difficult first year for the restaurant, in which Pedro has been doing his best to make sure the restaurant is successful.
Pedro said: "We reopened for Eat Out To Help Out, which was mad. I was refusing dozens of tables a day."
Though when the scheme ended in August, Pedro introduced his own version out of his own pocket offering 50 per cent off on Wednesdays and Thursdays for several months.
The Algarve also won an award from Restaurant Guru for the best takeaway food in Potters Bar, something they introduced while they couldn't be open.
"My plans for now is to build out clientele, we have good numbers but not a lot of people around here knows us," Pedro added.
"It's a great concept, I'm in a very good area, lots of personalities coming in, lots of football players. It's great."
Looking to the future, with regards to future lockdowns, Pedro remains optimistic although admits "sometimes it is better to stop reading the news so often".
"It's going to take a while to pay all the debts, all the loans and everything.
"But things are going in a very very good direction and I'm positive that it will be successful."
For more visit: thealgarverestaurant.co.uk