Published: 06:00, 26 July 2021
Business partners Alan Brett and Steve Pennington first got a taste for a career in hospitality when they were fed-up they couldn't get a late Sunday lunch in Rochester.
With most eateries closing after last orders of the traditional roast were served up, they were left hungry with no other option for a bite to eat with their friends and family.
It was that which gave the self-confessed foodies the appetite to open Oliver's Bar and Restaurant at the Star Hill end of the High Street in 2010, followed closely by the Rochester Coffee Shop down the road.
After a couple of years establishing Oliver's as a fine-eating establishment and nightclub, the two friends launched Brettington's Steak and Lobster House .
And now they are preparing to unveil their latest venture – Fish at 55 and Sakana at 55, a fish and sushi restaurant at the former Simply Italian on the corner of Northgate.
The eatery, which is spread over three floors and has undergone extensive refurbishment, is due to open in early September.
It will employ 50 full and part-time staff, bringing the total workforce of their businesses in the town to about 80.
Accountant Mr Brett said the secret of their success over the last 11 years is being "unique" and offering "something different" to the tourist town.
The father-of-four, who lives in Frindsbury, said: "There aren't many business which have survived for as long as us in the High Street.
"We pride ourselves in offering something different with quality and we look after our staff who are the real stars."
He is keeping tight-lipped about the furnishing and decor, saying: "We want to surprise everyone with the 'wow' factor."
The 58 year old, who has a practice in Dartford, said the new eatery will be offering fresh fish daily and sushi.
It will also be served at a hatch on the side for takeaways aimed at commuters seeking a healthy breakfast on the way to the station.
He added: "We will be picking up our fish from the trawlers at Hythe as well as going to Billingsgate."
Chatham resident Mr Pennington, 53, said: "It will literally be picked up fresh in the morning and served up on the plate in the evening.
"We find people work hard and want quality food for their money."
Rochester Coffee, which is run by his daughter Abi, 28, will be revamped at its present home at 89 High Street and temporarily relocated to the new venture at No 55.
Mr Brett's son Taylor, 21, works at Oliver's.
Mr Pennington, who runs a painting and decorating company in Borough Green, and Mr Brett chose to focus on Rochester because of its "vibrancy".
They say they "love to eat and drink" and are always on the look out for further acquisitions.