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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 4th Aug 2014 - Tasty to open first cafe, deli-bakery site
Tasty to open cafe bakery and Wildwood hybrid site: Tasty is to open its first cafe bakery brand on the site of the iconic De Grey’s in Ludlow, Shropshire. The tearoom was thought to have shut its doors for good when owner Robbie Underhill called time on the historic business in January after 90 years of trading – 40 staff lost their jobs. It has attracted a celebrity fan-base, with TV presenter and historian Dan Snow labelling its cream teas the “best in the world”. But Tasty, which has taken over the building, has promised to keep not only the name, but also the traditional tearoom and bakery. The decision was made because of the outpouring of love for De Grey’s from former customers, which has convinced the company to keep it as close to the old style as possible – including the restaurant company operating a bakery and deli for the very first time – while still putting its own brand on the building. Jonathan Plant, joint chef executive of Tasty, said: “We’re going to retain the name De Grey’s but we’re going to use our own brand – it will probably be called Wildwood at De Grey’s. We’re going to continue the tea-room theme at the front, with a bakery and deli, pretty much in the same style. We’re very, very keen to keep it in a similar style. At first we weren’t sure, but since we’ve taken over the site we’ve had so many letters of interest and sadness that De Grey’s had gone that we want to retain as much as possible. The big difference will be at the rear where there will be a kitchen doing our high-end pizza, pasta and grill menu. But we’ve spent a lot of time and effort to be sensitive to what it was, and moulding our concept to De Grey’s. It’s the first time we’ve done a deli, the first time we’ve done a bakery.” One thing that may not be the same, however, will be the traditional black and white uniforms worn traditionally be De Grey’s the waiting staff. “It’s not fully decided yet, but we think we probably won’t have that, because we want staff to be able to flit between the tearoom and the restaurant,” Plant said. “I’m sure people might complain about that, but we will gauge it.” Work has been going on during the last couple of months at the listed timber-framed building in Ludlow’s Broad Street, including creating a garden at the back and sorting out damp and structural issues, he added. Builders hoped to complete the work by 18 August, with a provisional opening date seven days later. “We’ve opened about 25 restaurants, but this has been the one that has provoked the most interest,” Plant said. “It was clearly an important part of the town. We want to appeal to the old De Grey’s customers – and they’ll have to let us know if we’ve succeeded.”
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