Owners of Cromer Red Lion buy the Dolphin - and plan to open pizza restaurant with ‘wow factor’

A long-standing Cromer pub is set for a new life as a pizza and pasta restaurant, after being taken over by the owners of another town hostelry.

The owners of the Red Lion have bought the lease for what was until recently The Dolphin on New Street, on the clifftop overlooking Cromer pier.

Builders are working inside the building, gutting it and giving it a �200,000 refit for a planned opening at the beginning of March, in time for the start of the new tourist season.

Jo Alger, who has taken it on along with Callum Stuart, Richard Millar and Carol Prior, said the move was another sign that 'Cromer is on the up'.

She said: 'It's a prime location and somewhere that we know we can do something very special with. It's a beautiful building and a beautiful location. It's crying out to be a big success.'

Mrs Alger said she and Mr Stuart had always been in the hotel and catering trade.

She added: 'It's having a total refurbishment. There's going to be a wow factor to it. We are hoping to appeal to locals and holidaymakers. That's what we've tried to do with the Red Lion.'

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The four leaseholders have been running the Red Lion since March 1 2010, and Mrs Alger said the business was 'going really well'.

The Dolphin, which was open under that name for two decades, closed at the end of September - just after Cromer was hit by another blow when Buddies Bar and Lounge on Holt Road also shut its doors.

Mrs Alger said the restaurant would have a 'very good wine selection' and would be able to seat 120 people. Up to 25 people would be employed, she added.

And she was confident that the business would be a success - despite the tough economic conditions - saying: 'I feel Cromer is on the up and up. Times are hard, but the Red Lion has taken off. We've been supported really well by the locals and feel this is the right time for this move.'

As for its name, she said it did not yet have one, and urged readers to 'pop into the Red Lion' with their suggestions.

? What do you think the restaurant should be called? Email steve.downes@archant.co.uk or post your comments below.