Prominent empty building in Norwich city centre set to get new lease of life

The premises under scaffolding that used to be the Turkish Restaurant Marmaris. Picture: Denise Bradley

The premises under scaffolding that used to be the Turkish Restaurant Marmaris. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant copyright 2011

One of the city centre’s most prominent empty buildings is set to get a new lease of life as a Japanese restaurant.

Marmaris Turkish restaurant in Ber Street, close to the John Lewis store, closed several years ago and the building has become an eyesore.

Scaffolding has been erected around the store and its former name and other details have been erased from its walls in preparation for its new incarnation.

The new restaurant will be run by Orlando Williams, who previously ran the Sakura Japanese BBQ restaurant in White Lion Street in the city centre, which has closed.

He said: “We are moving our business into this new building but I cannot tell you exactly when it will be reopening.

“We are planning to breathe some new life into the building that has been in a poor state for about three years. With the other activities that are ongoing in Ber Street, it’s good news for the area.”

The building has a colourful history and was a pub for most of its life.

For more than 100 years it was known as the Thorn Tavern, and was said to be one of the smallest pubs in Norwich. Its name was then changed to Goldfinger’s, before it closed.

The Sakura restaurant in White Lion Street was officially opened by Norwich’s then lord mayor, Jeremy Hooke three years ago.

The restaurant was believed to be the first of its kind in East Anglia and served a wide range of barbecued Japanese food. Mr Williams, who has lived in Norwich since the 1960s, was inspired to set up the restaurant after a trip to Japan in 2001.

Are you taking on an empty building in Norwich? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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