Third generation fish fryer Phil Geary of Portreath’s Atlantic Café explains how his family followed their dream to the Cornish coast.
Surely most visitors to Cornwall harbour a wistful dream of one day laying down roots. The Geary family did just this, swapping the north west of Manchester for the north coast of Cornwall to take over the Atlantic Café in Portreath.
“I first visited to work the season in Newquay when I was 21 and instantly fell in love with it,” explains Phil Geary. “Since then, I always knew I’d live here, one day. My wife, Marie, and I have always tried to come down at least once a year with our three children, even if only for a night – we had to get our Cornwall fix, no matter how short!”
After spotting the Atlantic for sale online, the dream became serious. “It played on my mind for weeks, so one night I said to Marie: ‘Come on, we are going to Cornwall to have a look.’ We drove through the night, arriving in Portreath at first light; we turned the corner at the top of the hill and couldn’t believe or eyes!”
Having made the leap, there have been no regrets. “What we love most is the ability to spend time together as a family on the beach, enjoying the views and sunsets. Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre are stunning… for the kids to be running around on that beautiful beach in their school uniform is a pretty unreal experience, something I never thought I’d see! But to be biased, Portreath is fantastic – so laid back, with lovely walks, and the sunsets are outstanding.”
For Phil, fish and chips are truly in the blood, so the move to Cornwall is a match made in heaven. “Even though my grandparents and parents have been in the fish and chip trade since the 1930s and I’ve been eating them all my life, it’s still my favourite thing on our menu. You just can’t beat haddock, chips, mushy peas and Irish curry!”
But there’s plenty more to enjoy at the Atlantic, as Phil explains. “We try to offer something to everyone, all presented in a friendly-family, chilled-out atmosphere – whether it’s a coffee by the fire, breakfast with friends in a booth or fish and chips with a bottle of fizz! We’ve just started selling daily fresh fish to take home, including live crab and mussels.” The Gearys are living proof that every dream is worth following, especially if it leads to Cornwall!
Featured in Cornwall Living, 2017.