Food & Drink

Blackmarket – The Best Burger this side of New York

Blackmarket is the new home for Nathan Roberts’ burgers and best bits.  He was one of the original traders on the Harbour Arm in 2014 and has grown into his own place on Tontine Street.  With the extra space he runs a rock/blues bar serving the drinks he likes, and food – not limited to that burger –  Folkelife found Nathan in Blackmarket to discuss business.

“I’m Folkestone born and bred, have traveled around a bit but something always draws me back here.  I just love the Folkestone vibe.  You’ve got the sea on one side, the countryside there and there’s an urban feel to it too.  It’s well connected to the city.  The town has always had a special vibe to it, even more so now the regeneration is happening. I think it’s full of some amazing, weird and wonderful characters.  A melting pot of different things happening.  I love it.

“It was great to be a part of the beginnings of the Harbour Arm.  Now I’m on Tontine Street and this place has a soul and vibe to it like no other place in Folkestone.  I really feel it’s turning into the next destination for food and happenings.  There’s Burrito Buoy over the road from me; Thierry has always been leading the way at The Old Buoy.  Now we’re here and there are things going on at Quarterhouse.  I can walk down the road, pop in and see how everyone’s doing and know that we’re all working together to make this street work.”

blackmarket can mean anything

“When I was at the Harbour I traded under ‘That Burger’, and have done pop-ups around the town.  I love making burgers and have always loved eating them too.  The thing with now being called Blackmarket is that it doesn’t limit me to one foodstuff.  I can bring out hot dogs and the chicken wings have made their name down here. The kitchen here is so much bigger than what I’ve been working with up to now, but I want to keep the menu small.  Let’s not get too big, let’s do what we do well.  If I want to do Caribbean food then I can; I can do anything I like, because I cook many different things, so it doesn’t limit me.”


Burger and cheesy fries

Blackmarket indoors
Blackmarket outdoors

solid team

I’ve got a bar here too which means I can stock the beers I like.  I’m not limited to one brand.  I like local but I also like international.  We’re working with a lot of American breweries such as PBR – Pabst Blue Ribbon.  It’s created its own cult following in the US, and you can’t find it outside of London, but we have it here.  Because I’m an independent, I can mix it up and stock what I like.  So mixing the local Kent makers with the international really gives us a unique feel.

“My friend Josh has been my chef for a long time.  We’ve just go along another friend and the three of us take this really seriously.  But it’s also got to be fun.  Because we all know what we bring to the table we can introduce ideas and make our mark on what we serve.  It’s been a whirlwind since we opened in November 2023.  I really couldn’t have hoped for better.  And if this is the quiet part of the year then who knows what happens when the weather picks up.” 

blues bar with live music

I think I know though.  Tontine Street has a life of its own.  And yes, it might be quiet when the days are hot and everyone’s down by the sea.  That’s what happens in a seaside town.  But then people have to come back home, and back along the street and find something to eat and a place to cool down.

Our vibe is very much a bluesy bar from the US.  It’s dark, there are neons and we’re old school, rock, rootsy jazz and blues.  So we’ll be putting on live music and with the food and drink you can get here it really sets the tone.  This is what we are, US home from home with really good food, really good beer, and really good fun.”

Discover more about Folkestone below

Courting El Cortador – Authentic Spanish Tapas
Marleys – Most Importantly is Mark and Charly
Cocomee – Authentic Pan-Asian Cuisine
A Marriage Made In Heaven-ly Food Venues – Lucy and Ben Cuthbert

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