A new restaurant has opened at the Bridge House in Bridport.

Husband and wife team Marcus and Sara Edwards have welcomed chef Lee Guinnane, well-known around the town, to the fold.

Lee has lived and worked in Bridport for some time and built strong relationships with many local suppliers.

He leads the restaurant team and hasn’t wasted any time creating a unique but inclusive menu – it is entirely gluten free with several vegan options.

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Sara said: “Lee was recommended to us and comes with a good reputation. He is the perfect fit. He is energetic, bursting with ideas for our kitchen and full of enthusiasm. He thrives on it.”

They have big plans, and hope to change the menu once a month to make the most of seasonal – and local – produce. Lee has been busy planning the new launch menu – an Autumn-inspired selection of hearty dishes and big flavours - as well as separate Christmas and New Year offerings. The restaurant was widely praised following its launch last week, and a Dorset apple cake/sticky toffee pudding amalgamation went down a storm. 

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Marcus and Sara took on the stunning Grade II -listed townhouse in October 2017 after falling in love with Bridport and moving to the area from Windsor. The feeling seems to be reciprocated, as the cellar bar (now operated independently by cocktail bar Dark Bear) and, post-Covid, the outdoor Potting Shed and garden pop-ups have been a smash hit with the locals.

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So much so, the couple opted to lose the word ‘hotel’ from their name. They still offer accommodation, and don’t struggle to fill their 10 rooms, but for Marcus and Sara, it is about offering a ‘home from home’ – not just for visitors but for the people of Bridport, too.

“Our hearts were always in Bridport,” said the couple, who’ve always visited the town on holidays. “There’s nowhere else quite like it or anywhere else we’d rather be.”

While the prospect of opening a new restaurant is an exciting one, it’s also, understandably, a nerve-racking one.

“We have thought about a restaurant in the past but it was never the right time,” Sara explained. “I have chefs in the family and it’s always been an idea but we shied away from it to focus on the rooms. We wanted to put our own stamp on the place first.

“Now is the right time. We know that guests who stay with us a little while want to stay in on occasion rather than go out every night. We have always recommended nearby restaurants to guests, and will continue to promote our neighbours, but we would like to offer something too.

"It's also somewhere for locals to come for dinner.

“It is scary to open something new. You wonder if people will come and of course, at the back of everyone’s mind at the moment, is the cost of everything going up. People are tightening their belts. But we’ve got to know the locals very well and they have become friends.  We’ve spoken to them about our concerns and everyone has been supportive of a restaurant. It is scary – but we are also very excited.”