A FIRST look has revealed how a brand new Caribbean restaurant is aiming to bring "2-4-1 cocktails" and bottomless brunch to Durham City after years in the planning.

The brand new Turtle Bay Caribbean Restaurant and Bar in The Riverwalk development is set to open on Friday after plans were first unveiled back in 2019.

Set over two-storeys, the impressive new venue is among the latest to open in the city after an explosion of arrivals including Cafe Ravika, The Curious Mr Fox and Rib 'N' Reef.

Read more: How brand new Turtle Bay in Durham will look as opening date revealed

Ahead of its opening, The Northern Echo had a sneak peek at the new venue, which is promising to bring something that "not seen before" to the city.

The Northern Echo:

Regional trainer partner, Pip Harvey, with general manager, Ryan Sullivan outside Turtle Bay in Durham Picture: JIM SCOTT

The Northern Echo:

The venue aims to be one of the most "Instagrammable" in Durham City 

Serving up buy one get one free cocktails, unlimited brunch and a mix of Caribbean dishes, the venue has been fitted out to reflect a scene you might find thousands of miles away.

In what bosses say will be a "laid-back" and fun atmosphere, it has been given a central island bar, open kitchen, flaming jerk-pit and grill as well as veranda seating.

Featuring themed areas including the "Reggae" and aptly named "D'Rum" room, views overlook the skyline complete with a balcony overlooking the cathedral.

Explaining how it is hoped will become a roaring success for the chain, Ryan Sullivan, general manager, said excitement had been growing ever since plans were revealed.

The Northern Echo:

With interiors designed by Fusion Design and Architecture, indoor veranda seating is commonplace in Caribbean venues

The Northern Echo:

The 'Central Island Bar,' will serve up a range of cocktails

The Northern Echo:

Bar trainer Kuba Ostrowski with a range of new cocktails exclusive to Durham

He said: "We have been waiting so long for this to come around - and the people of Durham have been waiting so long for it.

"It is really exciting for us as we get to be the only Caribbean restaurant in Durham, so we get to bring something fresh that people haven’t seen before."

Lined up next to other big names in recent months including Cosy Club, Food Pit and Mediterranean El Pincho, Turtle Bay is among the latest restaurants to open in the Riverwalk.

But explaining that the venue had originally been tipped to open two years ago, Mr Sullivan said the Covid pandemic had caused lengthy delays to the project.

The Northern Echo:

The restaurant and bar features its very own open kitchen, with customers permitted to watch

The Northern Echo:

A 'flaming jerk-pit' has been added, which replicates an oil barrel jerk pan

The Northern Echo:

The venue serves up brunch includIng the 'Honey Bunny Yardbird'

He said: "We were always going to be on this site, it was always going to be looking like this, we just couldn’t physically get the builders in with regulations and restrictions.

"So as soon as we got back into the area, we did - and this has been in the building stage for about four months, and this is where we are now. It is just amazing."

Around 50 jobs have been created with the company previously revealing an extensive recruitment process which involved limbo dancing and Dragon's Den style pitches for hundreds of applicants.

Read more: All the jobs available at Turtle Bay's new site in Durham - as date set for auditions

Saying that the opening of the restaurant would come as yet another boost for the city in terms of jobs and destinations, Mr Sullivan added the location had been paramount.

The Northern Echo:

The restaurant is set over two-storeys in the Riverwalk development

The Northern Echo:

The restaurant offers unique views of Durham City, including the cathedral from its balcony

He said: "This will be a huge boost to Durham, we have created 50 jobs and because of this, and all of our partners, it will be amazing for the area.

"Where we are, it's perfect on the riverfront - you've got a load of amazing places on this strip and it gives you another place for people to enjoy."

The Northern Echo:

The restaurant was first unveiled back in 2019, before the Covid pandemic began

The Northern Echo:

Bosses hope this area will prove popular with customers soaking up the view

Making its debut in Durham at 4pm on Friday, Turtle Bay will be the company's third restaurant in the region - with sites in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

Open for both reservations and walk-ins, its opening times will be 10am to 11pm on Sunday to Wednesday and 10am until late from Thursday through to Saturday.

Bookings for reservations have already gone live and are accessible on the Turtle Bay website by clicking here.

You can also see a live tour and interview with Turtle Bay general manager, Ryan Sullivan below


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