Bosses at a top hotel and restaurant business say they are "thrilled" after acquiring a pier café.

Milsom Hotels & Restaurants bought the café at Ha’penny Pier in Harwich from Christian and Lucy Zemann of Harwich Harbour Ferry who have operated the business since 2021.

Milsoms already owns The Pier restaurant at Harwich, the Talbooth restaurant and Milsoms at Dedham and Kesgrave Hall in Ipswich.

Milsoms managing director Paul Milsom has worked closely with Christian for many years with ferry transport and seal trips and was approached to see if he was interested in acquiring the business.

East Anglian Daily Times:

A new lease with Harwich Haven Authority has been signed this week. 

The café will be renamed Deck 1853 to reflect the year the wooden pier was built.

The pier was a popular departure point for paddle steamers until the First World War - and its name reflects the ½d (half an old penny) toll charged.

Chefs at The Pier restaurant, along with Milsom Hotels & Restaurants general manager Ian Rhodes and group executive chef Andy Hirst, are now busy devising a new menu for visitors, locals, walkers and sailing enthusiasts.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The café is set to serve home-made pizza, breakfast sandwiches and paninis as well as tea and coffee.

Ice creams will include gelato and traditional soft serve ice cream in a cone. They are also planning pre-book packed lunches to collect prior to boarding the Harwich Harbour Ferry or exploring the area.

Opening hours will flex with daylight saving time and the lighter evenings so that visitors can enjoy stunning sunsets from Deck 1853, with a range of refreshments. 

Plans are also under way to offer private two-hour ‘Pizza Parties’ with exclusive use of the venue for birthdays, special celebrations, hen parties and baby showers.

Deck 1853 will be overseen by managers at The Pier, located just a few yards away on the Quayside.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Geraldine Milsom will lead the refurbishment and oversee the new look- and an opening date will be announced once work is under way.

Paul expressed delight at the new venture.

 “We are delighted to acquire the café, it is located in a wonderful spot on The Pier and it further builds upon our very long and fond association with Historic Harwich," he said.

“It is an exciting time for us as a business and we are looking forward to enhancing the facilities for local people and visitors to the area.”