Harry's turns 30!

On 26 November our beloved restaurant and Exeter institution turned 30. We are so proud of the incredible achievement – we could not do it without our amazing staff, fabulous suppliers and wonderful guests. As with reaching momentous life milestones, we take this opportunity to look back on some of the key landmarks in our 30-year history.

The Pounds family set up Harry’s

Harry’s was the brainchild of Samantha’s parents who founded the business in 1993. They brought the experience of running a pizza franchise to Harry’s and inevitably the food reflected that. Samantha was a key part of the business at this point running the floor alongside her father, with her mother in the kitchen and her siblings also dropping in when they could!

Samantha takes over

After 10 years at the helm, Samantha’s parents sold the business to their daughter whose energy and creativity are unrivalled. She continued to work alongside her mother in the kitchen and her siblings on the floor. Sometime after this, the first of Samantha’s daughters began to work in the restaurant as a waitress the other three girls following along in her footsteps.

Harry's Grill Bar

In 2011, Samantha decided that one restaurant wasn’t enough and settled on the concept of a steak house – the Grill Bar was born! Although no longer with us it is indisputable that the restaurant and lessons learnt in this adventure have informed all of the future changes and evolutions in Harry’s.

Refurbishment

In 2018 Samantha took the very bold decision to engage with designers to entirely rethink the dining rooms within Harrys. The aim being to create a modern and comfortable space which continued to feel homely but that could also compete with the impressive shop fit-outs of other newer restaurants. As well as this Samantha again decided to update the menus and pare back the immensely wide offering to ensure every dish put up is the best it could be.

Forging relationships with key suppliers

We are delighted to have forged longstanding relationships with many of our suppliers. We recognise the importance of the provenance of our food and drinks and love to support the local market where possible. Over the many years we have developed close links to amazing businesses such as Luscombes (soft drinks), Christopher Piper Wine, Otter Brewery (Ales), Hawkridge (cheeses), Dart’s Farm Butchers (steaks) and Wright Brothers (fish). 

Covid

The hospitality industry is at the best of times an unpredictable beast but Covid was a particularly difficult time for all. Overnight we were closed down and initially there was no understanding as to how long the lockdown would be for. We were fortunate in some respects, in hindsight, we as a family were all together and for the most part healthy. We were able to use the time to develop further ideas, recipes and reopening plans. 

Cheers to the next 30

In reflecting on all of these milestones we recognise that we have come a long way from our humble beginnings. We have so many highs at Harry’s. All of our family have grown up with the restaurant. We are so grateful to each and every one of you, staff, regular guests and suppliers to us you are all extended family. With that, we are getting back to our Champagne – cheers to the next 30!