Thirty five new jobs are coming to Weymouth after award-winning chef Mitch Tonks unveiled plans to open a seafood restaurant in the town in a welcome economic boost for the area.

Mr Tonks is set to open one of his Rockfish restaurants at the former Dorothy Inn on the seafront this summer.

Rockfish, which specialises in serving fresh, local and sustainable seafood will be employing 35 people locally and is investing £500,000 to update the premises.

Business leaders have welcomed the move – which as well as creating jobs and investment will help to raise the profile of Weymouth as a 'foodie' destination and particularly as an area of excellence for seafood.

The Dorset Seafood Festival which the town hosts in July around the harbour – and which Mr Tonks is a familiar face at – is now one of the largest food festivals in the country.

Rockfish is supporting the festival with a stand at this year’s event and Mr Tonks will be doing a joint demo with friend and chef Mark Hix, a former Weymouth College student who is also a successful restaurateur.

Mr Tonks has become one of the most respected and knowledgeable seafood people in the country and an acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author in the process.

He has restaurants in Bristol and a number in Devon.

The plan is to open new Rockfish sites in Weymouth in July and also at Poole Quay in October, bringing the group to eight restaurants.

The Weymouth site will have Portland pearl oysters on the menu, have its own buyers on the daily fish market in Brixham, and also hopes to be working with Dorset fishermen, supporting the fishing communities along the southern seaboard as well as buying sustainably sourced fish elsewhere.

Mr Tonks, who lives in Brixham, said, “I have always loved the beach at Weymouth and the atmosphere around the harbour. I water-skied there a lot when I was younger and last year sailed into the harbour on a warm evening and reminded myself what a special place it is.

"Weymouth has a vibrant restaurant scene and we are looking forward to being part of it and the local community generally."

He added: "Rockfish is a seafood restaurant that aims to make seafood accessible to everyone. We’ve had great welcomes and successes in other coastal towns like Torquay, Brixham and Exmouth and hoping we can be a great addition to Weymouth.”

President of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce Craig Oakes said: “A lot of research will have been done before someone like Mitch Tonks decides to set up in an area.

"What this really indicates is that the opportunities in business that Weymouth and Portland has to offer are now beginning to be realised.

"The area is starting to be established as a 'go to' area. The wheels are starting to turn slowly but surely.

"It's great news."