New Owners for Riverside

It’s all change at West Bay’s Riverside Restaurant.

Owner Neil Chilcott, who has been connected with the Riverside for 40 years, announced this week that the business was being sold to Richard Cooper and his family as part of their new venture to create a chain of beach café bars called SWiM.

Their first SWiM is at Lyme Regis, at the former By The Bay restaurant on Marine Parade. It opened in March.

The Coopers founded the Stable chain of restaurants, the first of which is in Bridport. They also turned around the fortunes the town’s Bull Hotel by restoring it and running it as a boutique hotel before selling it to national brewers Fullers.

Mr Chilcott, whose last day will be on Bank Holiday Monday 28 May, worked at The Riverside for Arthur Watson and his family in various capacities. In recent years, he was the manager before buying the business a few years ago.

According to the Riverside Restaurant’s website, Mr Chilcott (who is known as Chilli) ‘feels that he has achieved his ambition in owning the business that he has been so much a part of for the past 40 years, and is now ready to move on to new ventures.

‘He is keen to produce something new that reflects his vision, rather than continuing to deliver something that was the vision of others.  Chilli looks forward to welcoming customers to his new venture, more details of which will be released in due course

‘Chilli joked that rumours that the business was being sold have been around almost as long as he has, but now it is true, he is selling up, and feels that an entirely new format for the premises will introduce something different to West Bay.’