Published: 10:56, 24 September 2020
| Updated: 13:42, 24 September 2020
Almost 50 jobs are to be created with the opening of a new restaurant and a gin and wine bar.
The former Simply Italian eatery in Rochester is being brought back into use.
The building, which is on the corner of High Street and Northgate, has been closed for several months.
Following major refurbishment work, it is set to open at the end of November as Fish by Brettingtons, employing around 40 people.
The new business is owned by the same company which runs the nearby Brettingtons Steak and Lobster restaurant, Rochester Coffee Company and Oliver's Bar and Restaurant.
Owner Paul Brett says as part of the plans, Rochester Coffee will be leaving its present home at 89 High Street to operate from the same building.
Number 89 will then be converted into a gin and wine bar, employing around half a dozen people and opening at the end of the year.
The former Simply Italian site will operate as Rochester Coffee in the mornings before it becomes the fish restaurant after midday.
Oliver's and the steak and lobster restaurant will continue as they are.
The new business is recruiting workers, including managers, chefs, waiting and bar staff.
Mr Brett, who runs the parent company with partner Stephen Pennington, is confident the new ventures will succeed, due in part to the work-from-home revolution.
He said: "We have been in Rochester a long time so we're sure the community will support us.
"Added to this, work from home will change people's behaviours; you'll see people eating out locally and not up in London.
"This will also be spread throughout the day, not just evenings."
In August, we reported how Simply Italian was unlikely to reopen after being hit by the lockdown restrictions.
Previously, the building was the Northgate pub and then Dodgers – an American-style diner.