Jobs boost for Portland

Nigel and Ysanne Williams celebrate the beginning of their new venture

Nigel and Ysanne Williams celebrate the beginning of their new venture

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

NEW jobs have been created on Portland with the opening of a waterside eatery on the site of a closed restaurant.

The Harbour Lights bar and restaurant will open tomorrow at Portland Marina five months after The Boat That Rocks suddenly closed.

Husband and wife team Nigel and Ysanne Williams, who hail from Lancashire, will run a bistro, bar and restaurant.

They are taking on 20 staff members, including training four young assistant managers who wish to have a career in hospitality.

Around 200 applications were received for the roles.

Mr Williams said: “We see this as a career for the people we are taking on.

“Nearly everyone we have employed is local to Weymouth and Portland.

“We want all the guide books to find us and we want Michelin to pay us a visit.”

The couple met at a fashion show and ending up buying a small hotel in Blackpool.

They then turned 17th century coaching inn the Spreadeagle in Sawley, Lancashire, into a popular gastro pub, which they sold in 2008 before retiring to Dorset.

Mrs Williams, a former belly dancer and ballerina, hopes Harbour Lights becomes a popular destination for locals in the off season.

She said: “We bought it at the right time of year so we can work our way into the summer.

“We know it’s going to go mad in the summer, but we want to keep it busy in January and put on promotions that we know are going to appeal to the locals.

The couple describe the direction they are taking the eatery in as ‘going off piste’, with plans to introduce an ale specially brewed in Cornwall.

Harbour Lights will offer an a la carte menu, breakfast and light lunches.

Weddings will be held at the venue, with the upstairs function room refurbished and sponsored by champagne firm Perrier-Jouet.

Local suppliers will be used and the bar and restaurant is to join the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce.

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:20am Thu 13 Mar 14

cosmick says...

Sounds a bit upmarket, hope they do well , and we wecome any new jobs for locals. Good luck.
Sounds a bit upmarket, hope they do well , and we wecome any new jobs for locals. Good luck. cosmick
  • Score: 3

8:36am Thu 13 Mar 14

PossumGoose says...

With all the wonderful power of the English language to describe a place where food is served do we really have to descend to “eatery”?
With all the wonderful power of the English language to describe a place where food is served do we really have to descend to “eatery”? PossumGoose
  • Score: 5

12:04pm Thu 13 Mar 14

fixbike says...

hope they keep prices down it a nice place to stop for a drink when going along there but not so good if the prices are high
hope they keep prices down it a nice place to stop for a drink when going along there but not so good if the prices are high fixbike
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Thu 13 Mar 14

IslandJim1 says...

The boat that rocked opened surrounded by hype, did well for a bit, then slipped into obscurity as people realised it was overpriced. There business plan relied on catering for the hoard's of yachties that never materialised, and the ones that did were quickly directed to the Cove House because actually what they wanted was the atmosphere (and price) of a good pub. I can only wish well, but question how good the business acumen of someone who opens a restaurant on the spot of a failed restaurant can really be?
The boat that rocked opened surrounded by hype, did well for a bit, then slipped into obscurity as people realised it was overpriced. There business plan relied on catering for the hoard's of yachties that never materialised, and the ones that did were quickly directed to the Cove House because actually what they wanted was the atmosphere (and price) of a good pub. I can only wish well, but question how good the business acumen of someone who opens a restaurant on the spot of a failed restaurant can really be? IslandJim1
  • Score: 2

12:55pm Thu 13 Mar 14

elloello1980 says...

well done and best of luck to you both
well done and best of luck to you both elloello1980
  • Score: 3

2:43pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Saund65 says...

I loved going down to TBTR - but unfortunately it had to be very occasional due to the prices. Reading above, I think it may be the same thing happening. A function room sponsored by a champagne company? A new one on me! However, an open mind I shall keep. I have no doubt we will give it a try soon and I wish them the very best of luck.
I loved going down to TBTR - but unfortunately it had to be very occasional due to the prices. Reading above, I think it may be the same thing happening. A function room sponsored by a champagne company? A new one on me! However, an open mind I shall keep. I have no doubt we will give it a try soon and I wish them the very best of luck. Saund65
  • Score: 0

5:21pm Thu 13 Mar 14

I'mavoter says...

... Selling beer specially brewed in Cornwall ? .... What's wrong with lovely Dorset beer. Come on, support your local small brewery !
... Selling beer specially brewed in Cornwall ? .... What's wrong with lovely Dorset beer. Come on, support your local small brewery ! I'mavoter
  • Score: 4

6:32pm Thu 13 Mar 14

southwellman says...

Umm new jobs.. are these filling positions in the same building doing the same thing that shut because it was too expensive for what you get.. so not really new jobs just a new name!
Umm new jobs.. are these filling positions in the same building doing the same thing that shut because it was too expensive for what you get.. so not really new jobs just a new name! southwellman
  • Score: -1

7:33pm Thu 13 Mar 14

portlandpete says...

Lets hope that the staff get trained to acknowledge customers when waiting to be served as the previously run boat That Rocked seemed to ignore there bread and butter customers,keeping there backs turned and private conversations going,and i have left the building on many occasions due to this to go elsewhere. Pete B Portland
Lets hope that the staff get trained to acknowledge customers when waiting to be served as the previously run boat That Rocked seemed to ignore there bread and butter customers,keeping there backs turned and private conversations going,and i have left the building on many occasions due to this to go elsewhere. Pete B Portland portlandpete
  • Score: 1

8:47pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Rodwellocal says...

PossumGoose wrote:
With all the wonderful power of the English language to describe a place where food is served do we really have to descend to “eatery”?
It is the power of the English language that permits us to use the word eatery.
It is a dictionary defined word to describe a restaurant or other commercial premises serving food to people. Rather than descend, the Echo has ascended to the use of a proper definition.
[quote][p][bold]PossumGoose[/bold] wrote: With all the wonderful power of the English language to describe a place where food is served do we really have to descend to “eatery”?[/p][/quote]It is the power of the English language that permits us to use the word eatery. It is a dictionary defined word to describe a restaurant or other commercial premises serving food to people. Rather than descend, the Echo has ascended to the use of a proper definition. Rodwellocal
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree