Sara Pollard-Dambach is opening a new restaurant, McDambis, formally Ask Pizza, Fareham Pictured: Sara Pollard-Dambac at McDambis with her staff on 21 July 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman
The former Ask Pizza premises in West Street has been empty for months, after it closed during the first lockdown and never reopened.
However, Sara Pollard-Dambach and her partner Oliver have taken on the town centre building and are busy putting their stamp on it before opening next month.
Until recently Sara and Oli were running the Roebuck pub in Wickham, but they decided to call time on their pub career and have instead moved on to their new restaurant venture.
Sara Pollard-Dambach is opening a new restaurant, McDambis, formally Ask Pizza, Fareham Pictured: Sara Pollard-Dambach at McDambis with her staff on 21 July 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman at McDambis with her staff on 21 July 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman
Sara, from Swanmore, said: ‘The new restaurant will have English, Swiss and Italian food on the menu as it made sense to make use of the wonderful pizza ovens that have been left behind.
‘We have brought the whole team from the Roebuck, all 20 of us will be working there.
‘When we had to leave the Roebuck we were very sad and I started to look at what premises were available. After getting in touch with the landlord here and seeing what a beautiful building it is and what potential it has, we couldn’t wait to move in.
‘The landlord is pleased to have some new tenants, but he is also pleased that we will be carrying on the charity work and the community work that we were previously doing. It is exciting.’
The couple plan to open a restaurant called McDambi’s of Fareham – and they hope the venue will become a community hub, with Sarah continuing her work for domestic abuse charities and food banks.
The restaurant, which has 90 seats inside and a small courtyard area to the back, is currently undergoing a renovation.
Sara said: ‘When the pandemic began, the staff at Ask just locked up as if they were coming back the next day. There were plates in the dishwasher, pots in the sink, everything was still as they had left it.
‘We have to do a lot of cleaning, everything top to bottom, and we are now repainting and redecorating, and looking forward to welcoming our first customers.’
Sara is not new to the catering industry, having previously run McDambi's At Seacourt, Hayling Island and also setting up Free From Temptation, a bakery that specialised in gluten-free cakes and confectionary.
She has also overcome personal challenges due to a bone infection that left her using a wheelchair in 2017, meaning she had to learn to walk again.
The mum-of-two is also pregnant with the new baby due in 15 weeks, although she says this won’t hold her back from the new business venture.
She said: ‘The potential this place has over the next 10 years is amazing. We are so happy to have found a home.’
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