Popular food stall-holder opens new restaurant in North Bersted
A Bognor Regis cook who has run a popular Mexican food stall for the last four years is opening up his first restaurant in North Bersted.
Mick Browning is set to open the doors to Hey Amigo, in Central Avenue, on Friday.
His stall has been a well-known fixture at Littlehampton market over the years, as well as other food festivals in the area.
“It’s been really well received,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve really had a bad day ever.”
This year Mick had been planning on quitting his job as a senior manager on the railways to focus on the stall full time – getting a van and travelling around to events.
But then Covid-19 hit. “We lost all our business this year as a stall,” he said. “It was like, how are we going to survive?
“The events industry is on its knees.”
Mick soon decided to change track and put his savings towards opening up a restaurant instead.
He has always had a love of cooking and said the ‘biggest fans’ of his food were his three children and two stepchildren.
Mick, who is also a grandfather of one, said he was particularly keen on Mexican cuisine as it was similar to the food he enjoyed as a child – hearty stews and soups – sitting round the table with his family.
It is this same family-friendly atmosphere and ethos that he wants to recreate in the restaurant.
As a supporter of Radio Respect, which offers mental health support, and the Meadview Centre Project, a rehabilitation project, he decided the establishment would not serve alcohol.
“I want to create a safe environment for people who have suffered in the past,” he said.
While other Mexican offerings in the area tended to be in the Tex Mex style, Mick said Hey Amigo would have a more authentic offering.
Customers will be able to try a chicken mole negro or deep fried cactus.
He plans to buy ingredients locally as much as possible in order to help support other businesses.
“If we are taking money out of the local economy, we need to be putting back into the local economy,” he said.