Bridges café in Fordingbridge succeeding under new owners

Bridges Coffee and Dining in Fordingbridge was successfully sold to experienced catering operators Leanne Sargent and Morgan Hale in November last year when previous owner Allison Rust hung up her apron after eight years.

Leanne used to run Cloisters café in Wimborne while Morgan has extensive experience as a hotel restaurant and cruise ship manager.

Having recently put the finishing touches on renovation work, new colour schemes and a new menu, Morgan told the Daily Echo the venture is a “dream” for the pair.

Bournemouth Echo: Fordingbridge High StreetFordingbridge High Street (Image: Roger Elliott)

He said: “We saw the advert saying that the site was for sale and running a cafe has always been a dream of ours, so we thought why not take the leap? And here we are.

“The location is fantastic, right on the high street which was important to us. We believe keeping the high street alive is so important. They’re part of our national heritage and will be important for future generations as hubs to go to.”

Bridges comprises 50 covers and has a rear patio garden for customers. In early January, shortly after being taken over by Morgan and Leanne, it received a five-star hygiene rating by the Food Standards Agency – the highest rating that can be achieved.

Bournemouth Echo: Red espresso drink at Bridges in FordingbridgeRed espresso drink at Bridges in Fordingbridge (Image: Bridges)

While the eatery has undergone a facelift and changes to the menu, Morgan said no major changes have been made, in order to keep the regular customers happy. “They have all been so kind, warm and welcoming to us,” he added.

The sale of Bridges was handled by agents Goadsby.

Mark Nurse from Goadsby said: “I know that the new owners have already started to make a few improvements to the business – including some redecoration and general updating and I would like to wish them all the best for the future with their new business.”

Ambition to grow the business could be on the cards in the future says Morgan once they have fully settled in their new environment. “We can never rule out expanding,” he said.

Bournemouth Echo | News