That’s the aim of the owners of The Waterfront cafe at York Marina in Naburn, who have spent a small fortune on a stunning glass extension to their riverside location.
Photos on her social media of the glass-fronted dining area at sunset are enough to make you pinch yourself and do a reality check: Is this really York?
Richard Bleakley, whose family owns the marina and stylish cafe, said: “We want to make people feel like they are abroad – and at home at the same time!”
The huge glass conservatory has been in the planning stages for two years and has finally opened after months of delays due to problems with parts.
It was a complicated and international project, with materials coming from Turkey and Poland as well as the surrounding area.
But it was worth the wait, say Richard and cafe manager Tom Owen.
The conservatory also opens onto a terrace with unparalleled and unobstructed views of the Ouse – and the sunset as night falls.
Now accommodating over 400 guests, Waterfront has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
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“This place used to be a cowshed,” Richard said. “First we opened a small café with space for 20 people and only sold coffee, jacket potatoes and paninis.”
Today the menu is more extensive and imaginative and is helmed by a well-respected York chef. Kenny Noble (ex of The Parsonage, The Blue Bicycle and Ate O’Clock) has been at the helm of The Waterfront’s kitchen for five years.
Kenny said: “We’re a high-end cafe – we still do sandwiches, it’s just the presentation that’s different.”
Kenny said his food is all about quality and value for money (generous portions), but also a little surprise.
“For our afternoon tea we serve a mini fish and chips and jelly in a small beer glass.”
And the most popular dish? “The Fisherman’s Catch – a large sharing board with haddock goujons, scampi, smoked salmon, crayfish, avocado salsa and tartar sauce,” Kenny said.
Vegans and vegetarians also get their money’s worth.
There is a full breakfast and lunch menu available all week long and dinner is also served on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The Waterfront is open to the public Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Find out more at: Waterfront Cafe.co.uk
The Waterfront makes optimal use of its new space for a range of events. An Abba-themed evening later this month is already sold out, but bookings are being taken for wine evenings as well as celebratory meals and parties, all led by events director Amie Stone-Owen.
During the work, solar panels were added to the building, which now generate at least half of the company’s electricity, Richard said.
The renovation required a large budget, but it was an investment not only in The Waterfront cafe but also in York Marina, he added. “The premise from day one was to give it our all. We want people to walk through the doors and go ‘Wow!’ say.”