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Tue 3rd May 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Chiabra – Neat Burgers’ US expansion will take lead from UK strategy: Tommaso Chiabra, co-founder and chairman of Neat Food Co, the parent company of the plant-based Neat Burger, has told Propel that the brand’s expansion in the US will take its lead from its UK strategy. Neat Burger plans to open 12 sites by the end of this year in the US through a mix of bricks and mortar sites and delivery kitchens. Earlier this month, it opened the first Neat Burger pop-up in midtown New York, in UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, with a flagship restaurant scheduled to open in Manhattan this autumn. Chiabra said “Our focus this year is on entering the New York market and establishing ourselves within the local community before expanding via our hybrid model of online and offline restaurants to other regions such as Miami, Austin, and Los Angeles next year.” The company is set to treat the US as its primary market, with its expansion there using the lessons learned here. Chiabra said the New York pop-up had already “exceeded our expectations”. He said: “It has been packed from the beginning. Customer feedback has been excellent, with 40% of consumers returning already. They are intrigued by our product, the brand and our narrative. It’s very similar to what happened in London. We are very happy to see the same formula working and adapting in a new territory as well, especially in the land of burgers. Having bricks and mortar sites is very important, allowing customers to live and breathe the Neat Burger experience in store is an important factor for the business. To complement that, we have delivery kitchens, so ideally, we will have three delivery kitchens near one of our stores, which helps us build exposure to the brand and compliments different dayparts. I see us taking a similar approach, but on a bigger scale, in the US.” In the UK, expansion will be through corporately owned restaurants, although Chiabra didn’t rule out that changing in the longer-term, “if the right partners with the requisite skills and experience” can be found. In the US, talks with experienced partners are already underway. In addition, the business plans to launch later this year in Italy and the Middle East through corporately owned sites, delivery kitchens and franchise partnerships. While staffing is an issue for the whole sector, Chiabra believes companies with a clear purpose have an advantage in attracting staff. He says: “It is a challenge for everybody, but I think we do have an edge as people are interested in our purpose, the need to be more sustainable. They are joining it because of that mission, it’s about disrupting the industry.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Soho House founder Nick Jones backs Hospitality Rising: Nick Jones, founder and chief executive of Soho House, is backing Hospitality Rising, but will you? The initiative aims to unite the industry by asking it to invest in and back its plan to change the perception of hospitality for the better, in the biggest sector recruitment advertising campaign the UK has seen. Jones said: “It’s been a challenging couple of years for the hospitality industry, and the work Hospitality Rising is doing to bring people back to jobs and careers in hospitality will be essential to address the recruitment shortages we’re all facing. This is a people business. We know that without the people who work for us – who look after our members and guests – we would be nothing. I’ve worked in hospitality all my life. I didn’t go to university, I started straight out of school at 17 – so I’ve seen first-hand the opportunities this industry can offer, the skills you learn and most importantly, the fun you can have. It’s a rewarding, solid career to develop in – people will always want to eat, drink and sleep. I would encourage everyone to support this campaign to get people back into promising careers in hospitality in the UK.” Invest in Hospitality Rising now from just £10 per employee here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com.

Cluster of London bakeries to feature in next edition of The New Openings Database, 13,610-word report included: A cluster of London bakery openings will feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock. The database will show the details of 309 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (6 May), at midday. The database shows the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location. There will also be a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. It is published on a monthly basis. The next edition of the database features Frog Bakery, which has been opened by Oliver Costello and Rebecca Spavins in Camberwell. Also added this month is independent bakery business Buns from Home, which has opened its fourth site, at Covent Garden’s The Yards. Meanwhile, South Korean-born bakery brand Paris Baguette, which has secured an opening in the Battersea Power Station development, will also be opening a new site at 129 Kensington High Street this year. In addition, London-based pastry chef, Laura Almond, who has opened her debut bakery and cafe, Beaten by a Whisker, in Walthamstow’s Hop House, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 13,610-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, was sent to Premium subscribers last Friday (29 April). The database contained 31 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,439. The 90 sites run by those 31 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 65,197 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 2,607-word report on the new businesses added. The go-to database provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. There is also a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Premium subscribers also receive the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. The first edition features 100 companies, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. The first edition provides 27,000 words of content. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett. 
 
Bums on Seats to host webinar helping operators maximise Christmas and World Cup sales opportunities: Bums on Seats, the strategic sales and business development experts, is to host a two-and-a-half-hour webinar to help operators maximise sales opportunities for the festive season. With a long-awaited FIFA World Cup event – and the first Christmas with no trading restrictions for three years – winter 2022 is shaping up to be one of the biggest opportunities for the industry. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 14 June. Tickets are £195 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing jo.charity@propelinfo.com. With England games timetabled to take place on the same days as key peak party booking dates, the webinar, led by Bums on Seats founder and chief executive Amber Staynings, will support your business to plan and deliver both Christmas and the World Cup. The webinar will look at the very latest consumer insights and booking trends to understand and exploit the changing market and forthcoming demand for Christmas 2022; how to translate this opportunity into a deliverable plan for your customers and business; why offering the right pre-booked packages in advance will change business efficiency and revenue for the better; standing out from the crowd and aligning your marketing with sales. Staynings said: “We’ve put together our expert team’s top tips for 2022 that you can action immediately in your venue to drive revenue and those all-important bums on seats!”

Chicken to become as expensive as beef: Cheap chicken may soon be a thing of the past – with the price of poultry set to skyrocket in the coming months. Chicken could soon be as expensive as beef as the cost of bird feed goes up – with fast food restaurants like Nando's and KFC already rising their prices. Ten chicken wings and two sides at peri-peri chicken chain Nando’s has risen from £14.95 to £16 since November, according to the Sunday Times. This means that a KFC Trilogy Box Meal rose from £7.59 to £7.98, according to the Sun. Marks & Spencer is already retailing organic chicken breasts and organic beef rump steak at £24.15 per kilogram. The price of chicken is rising faster than any other protein because of feeding costs, rising energy prices and wages rise. The UK's largest chicken supplier, 2 Sisters, said price inflation of 15% will be needed “will be needed to even begin to cover the increasing cost of production” of the poultry. The Office of National Statistics recorded a 19% rise in the price of chicken between March 2020 and March 2022. Chicken feed is made using soybean and wheat, which has seen massive price rises due to the war between Russia and Ukraine. The two countries produce a third of the world’s grain – which is used to produce cooking oil – and both are experiencing particularly poor harvests due to the Russian invasion, which began on February 24.

Fears expressed for future of sector with no fast-track alfresco dining legislation: A Manchester bar owner has called for the return of alfresco dining legislation this summer – saying he fears both for his business and the sector without it. Braddan Quayle, who runs the Alvarium bar and vegan restaurant Black Leaf in the city’s Northern Quarter, spoke out after being told he would not be able to have tables on the road outside the venue this year. He has asked Greater Manchester’s night-time economy advisor, Sacha Lord, for help. Emergency legislation during the pandemic allowed for fast-track licensing to help bars and restaurants survive. However, while local authorities such as Westminster have extended the temporary scheme – with UKHospitality calling for it to be made permanent – it has been repealed in Manchester. “We thought it was going to be a case of when, not if, we were going to get it again for this year,” Quayle told the Manchester Evening News. “We might be towards the end of the health effects of covid, but we are in no way, shape or form recovered financially from it. We need everything we can get at our disposal to make sure we still bring in enough revenue to make sure we’re not having to cut back or make people redundant.” The emergency measures allowed Alvarium to double in size last year from 16 indoor tables seating just under 50 to a further 20 for another 60 drinkers outside in Dorsey Street. Quayle has already had to close Black Leaf for the foreseeable future and said the outlook for the whole business is far from secure. He added: “I’m looking at 25 people’s jobs and my livelihood here. We’re looking at trying to rent the basement space out to reduce costs and we’re focusing on our wet revenue. The good weather recently has shown the real difference outdoor space makes. Outside areas are really full, with people queuing for them, while places that don’t have outside areas are just dead. It feels like we were told by multiple sources through the pandemic they would look after us, but now we’re having to fend for ourselves.”

Nottingham to consider scrapping late-night levy on pubs, clubs and bars: A levy targeting pubs, clubs and bars serving alcohol during late hours in Nottingham could be scrapped to reduce the “financial burden” on businesses and “revitalise” the city’s night-time economy. Nottingham City Council’s licensing committee will this week assess whether to scrap the late-night levy from October, when the current levy period comes to an end. The city’s late-night levy was first approved by the council in 2014 and sees businesses serving alcohol between midnight and 6am pay between £299 and £4,440 per year, depending on the rateable value of their premises. Income from the levy is then split between the council and the police and crime commissioner. If approved by its licencing committee on Friday (6 May), the council will launch a public consultation and consult with Nottinghamshire Police. Writing in the report, Melanie Bird, licensing compliance manager at the council, said: “The pandemic highlighted the financial pressures on businesses and that the revocation of the levy could be considered as an approach to reduce that burden. The levy costs may be considered a barrier to incoming or expanding businesses. The option for removal of the levy’s annual payments reduces the financial burden on licensed trade businesses. This could support revitalising the economy within this business sector.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a client in the events sector to recruit a head of operations based in London. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “Extensive event catering experience is essential for this role. You will be responsible for leading the team across both planning and operational delivery of events. We are looking for a very experienced operator who can run and plan complex large-scale events.” The hiring company is looking to pay up to £50,000 plus bonus for the right candidate. For more information and to apply, email marlene@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Tomahawk owner looking to buy own wholesaler to keep beef prices down, focusing expansion on steakhouse concepts: Tomahawk Steakhouse owner Howard Eggleston has revealed he is looking to buy his own wholesaler in a bid to combat rising beef prices. Speaking about rising costs at the Propel Multi-Club Conference, Eggleston said: “Beef-wise, we’re looking to buy our own wholesaler so we can be in charge of our own destiny – so we can take their margin out and return that lower price into our restaurant direct. We’re halfway through negotiations to buy our own distribution centre. We’ve put prices up on a few key lines where we can make cash difference to the business rather than across the whole menu, so it doesn’t look much different, and those slight increases will cover us for the next six months. We’ve got room to play as we’re not at the top end – we could get another 10% to 15% in our key lines and the customer wouldn’t really notice.” Eggleston, who is also looking to set up a training school to help battle hospitality’s recruitment crisis, went on to say he is focusing his expansion plans on his Tomahawk Steakhouse and Rio Brazilian Steakhouse concepts rather than chicken-based takeaway brand Pollo. Eggleston currently operates 17 sites over the three concepts, and in February, told Propel he was in funding talks to expand his estate to more than 50 sites. He said: “We’re in very early talks with a couple of people who are interested in putting cash into us to speed up the growth, but that’s all site dependent. If it goes right, it could see us go to 50 units in 2023. The priority now is to find sites for Tomahawk and Rio, I think the chicken market is flooded. We produced that through covid, but it doesn’t look as tempting now. If we see sites in busy malls, Pollo can stand up there, but 90% of my time is spent on Tomahawk and Rio.” One place expansion is unlikely is London, with the Tomahawk Steakhouse in Hoxton something of an outpost for a predominantly northern brand. Eggleston said: “We signed for London literally a week or two before covid, and we never would have if we knew what we now do. Landing in London with a brand nobody knew was always going to be a challenge, and the idea was to put eight or ten of them together, but we just didn’t get that opportunity.” Eggleston is also looking at larger sites to emulate the one in Newcastle that houses a Tomahawk and Rio Steakhouse over two floors under one roof.
 
Rockfish founder opens new seafood and craft beer bar in Plymouth: Mitch Tonks, founder of south west-based seafood restaurant group Rockfish, has opened a new waterside informal bar and takeaway in Plymouth. Tonks has opened The Sardine Bar in Rope Walk, which overlooks Plymouth Sound. Serving freshly fried fish and chips and local craft beer and cider, plus dishes like dressed crab and mayo and curried mushy peas, it also offers produce from Rockfish’s new range of British tinned seafood. Tonks said: “The deck of The Sardine Bar is a vibrant and colourful place to meet friends or bring the family. It’s a perfect spot to sit in comfort and enjoy some freshly fried local sustainable seafood and great beer from Salcombe brewery, with unbeatable views overlooking the water.” Tonks has built Rockfish to an estate of eight restaurants over the past 12 years, with plans to open further sites in Salcombe and Sidmouth this year. He told Propel in February that he plans to launch a seafood-focused academy in a bid to build on the brand’s success and create a new pool of talent in the south west.

Belgian fries concept opens in Liverpool for third site: A new restaurant serving Belgian fries is opening its doors in Liverpool city centre. Friesday Belgian Fries, which has venues in Bradford and Sheffield, is set to open on Duke Street next week. The new restaurant will open at 60 Duke Street in the city centre. Friesday specialises in triple cooked Belgian Fries, which come topped with a selection of sauces and a variety of meat, vegetarian and vegan options including cheese and gravy and jerk chicken and chipotle mayo. In keeping with the Belgian roots, Friesday also offers a selection of authentic Belgian sauces such as Andalouse, accompanied with a Chocomel drink. The restaurant also offers the Friesday Burger, which features seasoned Belgian fries with a hot meat filling of your choice, topped with salad and sauces, all served in a warm brioche bun.

Wetherspoon opens eighth pub in the Republic of Ireland: JD Wetherspoon has opened its eighth pub in the Republic of Ireland, this one in the city of Waterford. The pub, on Arundel Square, was due to open in December but had several delays related to the pandemic. Around €3.8m has been invested in the property, which will create 80 jobs. The opening comes a few weeks after the company decided to sell a Belfast church and a Belfast city centre shop that it had lined up for openings. The former Methodist Church on University Road in South Belfast and the JJB on Royal Avenue have been described as “excellent redevelopment opportunities”. Lambert Smith Hampton, who have been appointed to sell the two properties, described the church as “an exciting regeneration opportunity in a much sought-after location” close to Queens University, are seeking offers in excess of £750,000 for the property. The former JJB is described as being in a highly prominent city centre location with excellent redevelopment opportunity, less than a five-minute walk from the Ulster University campus.

Gordon Ramsay to open third US burger restaurant: Gordon Ramsay is set to open his third US burger restaurant – this time in Boston. Set to open at the Canopy Hotel later this year, Gordon Ramsey Burger will serve the chef’s butter-basted burgers, fries, scratch-made sauces and hand-spun milkshakes. The restaurant, located between the North End and Faneuil Hall, will be the third Gordon Ramsay Burger, following locations in Chicago and Las Vegas. The circa 4,000 square-foot restaurant in 111 North Street will also feature a second level deck with views of Downtown, the West End, the North End, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. “We are thrilled to have Gordon Ramsay Burger join Boston in such a timeless and growing restaurant scene,” said Norman Abdallah, chief executive of Gordon Ramsay North America. “We look forward to continuing to expand our footprint in Boston and in other beloved foodie cities across the US.”
 
Hub Box secures Dorchester and Gloucester openings: Hub Box, the south west-based burger and barbecue concept led by Richard Boon, has lined up new openings in Dorchester and Gloucester. The ten-strong brand, which will soon open a site in Plymouth’s Royal William Yard scheme, has secured a site in the Old Brewery building in Dorchester. At the same time, Propel understands the company, which counts Loungers’ co-founders Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop amongst its backers, has secured a site in the Gloucester Quays scheme, right on the canal next to Brewhouse & Kitchen. The group, which has an opening lined up in Worthing for later this year, is also understood to be in talks on a site in Weymouth. Boon told Propel earlier this year that he believes there is scope to grow an estate of 100-plus sites in the UK.

Estabulo chain founder to open Brazilian-Japanese fusion restaurant in Manchester: Zack Isaak, who is behind the Estabulo Rodizio Bar & Grill chain, is to open a new Brazilian-Japanese fusion restaurant in Manchester, called Sakku Samba. The new 13,000 square-foot restaurant will open in the city’s Spinningfields, on the former Artisan site, which closed four years ago. Estabulo currently operates nine sites, seven of which are in Yorkshire. Isaak opened the first Sakku in Leeds last year. The opening of Sakku Samba in Manchester is Isaak’s first foray into the north west. “I wanted to bring something different to Manchester,” he told Place North West. Sakku Samba will be split across two floors, with the ground floor housing a cocktail bar, while the first floor will provide space for up to 300 diners. In addition, Isaak plans to create a VIP room, which could accommodate 80 people, as well as two private dining rooms that could fit 20 and 16 respectively. 
 
Cheeky Chicos secures third site: Mexican restaurant and bar concept Cheeky Chicos has secured its third site in London. The Daniel Edgar-led business has secured the former Stringray Globe site in Columbia Road, Shoreditch, for an opening later this summer. The company already operates sites in Clapham and Blackfriars. CDG Leisure acted on the Columbia Road deal. 

Boom Battle Bar opens in Ipswich: Boom Battle Bar, the adventure bar concept from the team behind trampoline park business Flip Out and now owned by XP Factory, has opened its latest site, in Ipswich. The £1.2m venue, which includes mini-golf and axe-throwing, has opened in an 11,000 square-foot unit in the town’s Buttermark shopping centre. Also available is shuffleboard, augmented batting and darts, American pool and beer pong. Boom Battle Bar currently operates 15 sites, with several more currently in build and further launches planned in the coming months. XP Factory, which acquired Boom Battle Bar in November, said last month it expects to have 27 Boom Battle Bar sites open by the end of 2022. Once opened, the company said its enlarged estate of 21 sites will comprise six owner-operated and 15 franchise venues.

Adam Hardiman closes Dalston restaurant after investor pulls out: Chef Adam Hardiman has closed his Madame Pigg restaurant in Dalston, east London. Hardiman was forced to close the venue in Kingsland Road, which he opened in November 2018, after an investor pulled out at the last minute. In a post on Instagram, Hardiman said: “To say how hard I’ve worked to even make it this far has nearly broken me, but I have learned there’s more important things in life, and that’s life itself, especially at this time in our lives. I mean it from the bottom of my heart, without you all supporting Madame Pigg it would’ve been nothing. Thank you for everyone that’s worked so hard for me, I love you all.”

Market House concept to open in Cambridge later this month: Bill Brogan, who has previously held a Michelin star, will open a new concept in Cambridge later this month. Market House will occupy five floors of the former Don Pasquale restaurant and will feature an all-day café; a formal restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner; an evening wine bar; a food lab; and flexible meeting spaces. The menu will feature modern British dishes alongside Asian-influenced plates, while the wine-bar will offer crafted wines, gins, beers, locally roasted coffee and a diverse list of teas. Brogan said: "Sustainability is a core Market House value. The team have worked hard to source food and drink from small, regional businesses where possible and only work with suppliers that can show their commitment to sustainability.”

Sugo Pasta Kitchen opens in Sale for third site: Altrincham-based Italian restaurant Sugo Pasta Kitchen has opened its third site, in Sale. Owners Alex De Martiis, Michael De Martiis and Jonny Marcogliese have launched the venue in Stanley Square after raising more than £100,000 through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, reports Manchester’s Finest. Sugo Pasta Kitchen opened its debut site in Altrincham in 2015 before adding a site in Ancoats in Manchester in 2018. 

Coca-Cola opens a concept store in Covent Garden: Coca-Cola Great Britain is launching its first flagship Coca-Cola store in London. Located on Long Acre, Covent Garden, the new retail destination is the first of its kind in Europe, offering a range of limited-edition apparel collections, exclusive designer collaborations, gift items, and unique drinks creations. The London store follows the successful launch of similar ones in the US. Visitors shop for limited-edition collection drops, taste Coca-Cola at the Beverage Bar and add a personalised touch to cans at the customisation centre. Michelle Moorehead, vice president of licensing and retail at The Coca-Cola Company, said: “This store is a chance for us to provide Coca-Cola fans with a premium array of fashion and collectibles, and fresh ways to experience our drinks. Through a collection of products made from recycled materials, it also gives us a great opportunity to share our sustainability commitments with people and bring them with us on our journey to a world without waste.”

Gloucestershire operators take on third site: Gloucestershire business Notorious Plates has taken on a third site after reopening a Cirencester restaurant formerly known as Harry Hares. Notorious Plates, which also runs the Waterside Kitchen and Bar on the Cerney Lakes and The Crown at Cerney Wick, has reopened the Gosditch Street venue as Henry’s Seafood Bar & Grill. Since Harry Hares closed in the early 2000s, the site, which has undergone a complete makeover, has operated in various guises including Chophouse, St Austell's Graze and a pop-up restaurant. Tom Holland, the manager of the new restaurant, told So Glos: “Henry’s will be a modern British-led restaurant with a heavy seafood influence. The raw bar will have oysters, caviar, Newlyn lobsters and St Ives’ crab. We have dry aging salt fridges being installed for beef, which is sourced from local farms and delivered through our supplier. This will include Red Ruby Devon, Herefords and Aberdeen Angus as well as some British Wagyu. Bread will be baked every morning, and we are going to do our own charcuterie inhouse. We can’t wait to open, and we will have a great selection of champagne, wine and beer for guests to try.”

Manchester-based health food cafe, juice bar and well-being studio concept set to double up: The Green Lab, a health food cafe, juice bar and well-being studio concept based in Manchester, is set to double up with its second site. The venue, which offers well-being classes and workshops as well as organic wine, cocktails, sushi, salads, wraps, juices and smoothie bowls, launched in the city’s Northern Quarter in May 2021. Founders and sisters, Nikita and Kanika Banga, will open the second site for their “one-stop shop lifestyle destination concept” in Manchester’s Deansgate Square development on Friday (6 May). It will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner daily, and offer live entertainment every evening from Wednesday through to Sunday. The sisters said: “We’re delighted to be opening The Green Lab at Deansgate Square. It’s been a dream of ours to open a second site, and this neighbourhood is perfect for us.” It will follow the openings at Deansgate Square of fish and cocktails pop-up Pesky from Zaide O’Rourke, formerly of The Alchemist, and Atomeca, a bar from Bury-based brothers Joe and Daniel Schofield. The Schofields last year opened Schofield’s Bar in the former The Old Grapes pub in Bury’s Little Quay Street.

Bristol-based multi-site operator puts floating restaurant up for sale after 36 years: Bristol-based multi-site operator Arne Ringner, who also owns the Lido restaurant, pool and spa in Clifton and the Three Brothers burger restaurant in Welsh Back, has put his floating restaurant up for sale after 36 years. The Glassboat was built on a barge near Bristol Bridge by Ringner, who hails from Sweden, in 1986 after he was refused permission to use it as a floating botanical garden, operating instead as a French-style brasserie. It was relaunched as seafood restaurant and takeaway The Fish during lockdown but is now up for sale for a price believed to be around £750,000. This includes the vessel, all assets of the company including fixtures and fittings, and the mooring licence. The boat has three gangways that lead to the main floor restaurant and bar area and provides accommodation over two levels, with up to 170 covers as well as an additional 32 covers on the quayside. Ringner told Bristol Live: “What great times we had onboard the Glassboat. We have fed everybody, from hungry Bristolians to royalty. It’s now time to put the dancing shoes on the shelf and spend time teaching grandchildren to ride a bike. Thank you to all guests, friends and loyal staff for all the good times we’ve had.”

Northampton-based Italian restaurant owner takes on lease for pub: Northampton-based operator Mehmet Yetkin, who owns Alberto’s Italian restaurant in Grange Park, has taken on the lease for The Wedgwood pub in the town’s Abingdon Street. The pub, which closed in March 2020 due to covid restrictions and has remained shut since, has reopened under new management. “I know that Northampton people enjoy quality local venues, and that’s what The Wedgwood will be,” Yetkin told the Northampton Chronicle. “We have an extensive drinks selection and a wide variety of food, including sharing-style platters and smaller dishes for people to enjoy with a bottle of wine or cocktails.” The pub’s plans include bottomless brunches, sangria Sundays and late-night DJs at weekends. The venue has bars over two floors and a spacious roof terrace. General manager and business partner, Matthew Dellapia, added: “We are excited to be reopening this great Northampton venue after so long. We’re keen to offer people something new in the centre of town in relaxed and stylish surroundings. Supporting local is important to us and we’re proud to be an independent bar able to complement the buzzing hospitality offer in the town.”

Oxford restaurant closes after 50 years due to effects of pandemic: A restaurant that has operated in Oxford for more than half a century has closed for the last time due to the effects of the pandemic. The Nosebag, which has been based in St Michael’s Street since 1971, served customers for the last time last Wednesday (27 April). Camilla Chia, whose family owns The Nosebag, told the Oxford Mail it was “a miracle” the restaurant made it as long as it did after the pandemic. She said: “A lot of our clientele are the older generation whose health was affected by covid. We have not returned to the sales that we were at pre-pandemic, sadly.”

Wood-fired artisan pizza business joins Gloucester Food Dock line-up: Wood-fired artisan pizza business, Bella Mia, is joining the line-up of food and drink businesses at Gloucester Food Dock. Bella Mia, which has catered for the cast of TV’s Made in Chelsea and the Greek royal family, has confirmed it will be taking up residence at the waterside venue when it opens this summer. Jamie Di Crescienzo and chef Jake O’Malley have been running the Gloucestershire business from a converted horse box for six years and were approached by the Gloucester Food Dock team to join the project. Di Crescienzo told So Glos: “It’s going to be amazing. It is an incredible location by the waterfront, and so exciting for Gloucester. We will also be serving cocktails from a speakeasy bar as well.” Bella Mia will join Sibling Distillery, Strip Steak Bar and Wholly Gelato at the £3.5m complex, which will eventually be home to up to 15 food and drink operators and is being developed by Ladybellegate Estates.

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