4 May 1985 - 31 October 2014
Krimo’s Restaurant was opened in 1985 by Krimo and Karen Bouabda with a mere £250 and bucketfuls of enthusiasm at the seaside resort of Seaton Carew (Hartlepool) in the North-East of England.
The property cost £26,000 but as we did not own two pennies to rub together, Bert Bryden, my then bank manager came up with a very unorthodox way of helping acquire the restaurant. He lent me 10% to use as a deposit for a mortgage from a Building Society managed by his friend, Steve Adams, who lent me the remaining 90%. This kind of thing would never happen these days.
Friends and family helped transform the decrepit restaurant, Davy Jones Locker, that had been closed for a couple of years, into a clean, Mediterranean looking restaurant by the seaside.
We opened on Saturday May 4th 1985 and never looked back.
As it only seated a maximum of 32 people, the restaurant was often fully booked for months on end. At one time there was not a free table for 20 Saturdays.
In 1990, we moved out of the first floor flat and doubled
As the dream of a Hartlepool Marina began to be realised, I contacted the Teesside Development Corporation in 1994 with a view of expanding. In 1997 we opened Portofino on the Historic Quay. It was the first restaurant on the Marina, up a flight of wooden stairs overlooking the majestic HMS Trincomalee. A Pizzeria-Bistro, with a great atmosphere, it soon became very popular.
Within a few months, I built a great team by moving existing Krimo's staff to the new venue with Elaine (Tull) Lee as manager and Dave Clark, an ex-apprentice as head-chef, then replaced by another ex-trainee, Noel Stamp.
In 2000, we moved Krimo's to the lovely location by the lock gates on Hartlepool Marina. Although it did not have the quaintness of the Seaton Carew location, the restaurant soon became a Hartlepool institution, welcoming visitors from far and wide as sailors began arriving from all over. Madjid Cheurfi, personal friend and head-chef was joined by Colin Berry to run the busy kitchen.
Adam, our son took over Krimo's management until 2006 when the family opened the latest eaterie, Casa del Mar Tapas Bar and Restaurant. Kevin Dove, another Seaton Carew ex-trainee, moved from the post of Portofino second-chef to head the Spanish kitchen.
He then moved on to become a catering lecturer at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Chris Wilkinson, another successful trainee was left in charge of Casa del Mar's kitchen.
Having missed out on buying the freehold of Krimo's in 2002, I decided not to renew the lease in 2014 and the much-loved restaurant served its last customers on 31st October 2014.