Smashburger opens third UK site, in Newcastle: Better burger brand Smashburger has opened its third UK site, at the Intu Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle. The company has opened the venue in the new £25m Grey’s Quarter dining area. The 65-cover restaurant follows on from the first UK site that opened in Milton Keynes in May and more recently in North Street, Brighton. The interiors combine raw architecture in the form of exposed brick walls and cast iron beams with curved banquette seating. It also features contemporary furnishings, upcycled features and modern lantern lighting to emulate a slice of the Big Apple’s edgy meatpacking district, resulting in an industrial setting with a modern feel. Smashburger’s name derives from the “smashing” process used in the production of its burgers. It has 365 corporate and franchise restaurants in 35 US states and seven countries and was founded by former McDonald’s executive Tom Ryan. The company signed a partnership with AL Ventures, part of MSG Group, in 2015 to launch in the UK and plans to open 35 restaurants in the next few years.
M&B to open All Bar One in Southampton this month, first of five planned venues in 2017: Mitchells & Butlers is opening an All Bar One site in Southampton this month – the first of five planned for 2017. The company is launching its third south coast venue – after Portsmouth and Brighton – at the city’s West Quay Watermark development on Friday, 20 January, creating 20 jobs. The new 283 square metre bar will have capacity for 140 covers and will add to the brand’s existing portfolio of 52 All Bar One sites nationwide. The West Quay site will introduce a new seasonal menu, which will feature dishes from around the globe, from mix-and-match small plates to handcrafted burgers as well as an extensive breakfast and brunch menu. It will also offer All Bar One cocktail masterclasses, where guests can craft three cocktails of their choosing. Jeremy Cook, regional business manager of All Bar One West Quay, said: “This site represents a significant investment for the brand and we’re constantly looking to expand the All Bar One brand into new cities and introduce our bars to new audiences. This is the first investment of the year for All Bar One and is leading the way for the rest of 2017, with five new bars planned to open nationwide over the course of 12 months.”
Wahaca puts Nottingham restaurant plans on hold: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca has put its plans to open in Nottingham on hold. The company, co-founded by 2005 MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby, had been granted permission for the site in King Street. The venue would be its first in the Midlands but Wahaca has put the plans on the back burner. A spokesman told the Nottingham Post: “Unfortunately Wahaca isn’t planning on opening in Nottingham at present – prior discussions are on hold.” The proposed site was previously home to Brazilian restaurant Tropeiro, which shut in April, and Hard Rock Café before that. Wahaca has 24 UK sites, with the majority in London.
Patty & Bunn to convert London Fields site to development kitchen and open new restaurant around corner: Better burger brand Patty & Bun is to convert its London Fields site into a development kitchen and open a new restaurant around the corner. The company will close the existing site on Monday (9 January) with its new one launching in Richmond Road on Monday, 16 January. The new venue will have the same feel as London Fields but slightly bigger. It will feature communal tables that can fit about 50 people, with another 30 outside. The venue will also have a small bar serving cocktails and craft beer on tap. The menu will include Patty & Bun favourites such as Ari Gold (beef patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, ketchup, and smokey mayo) plus a new special, the chicken platter, reports Hot Dinners. Patty & Bun’s other sites are in Goodge Street, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Old Compton Street and Shoreditch.
Crosstown Doughnuts opens third site, in Camden Stables Market: Crosstown Doughnuts, co-founded by Adam Wills and Peter Gordon, has opened its third site, this time in Camden Stables Market. The outlet in Chalk Farm Road offers the full variety of Crosstown sourdough doughnuts, including its changing seasonal range that features the “Black Forest” (berry compote and chocolate cake dough topped with almond praline). The coffee includes bottled cold-brew coffee from local producers Sandows and its Nitro cold brew on draught, reports Hot Dinners. Crosstown’s other sites are in Soho and Shoreditch.
TGI Friday’s to open Bournemouth restaurant, second site for new concept: TGI Friday’s is set to open a second site for its new restaurant concept, this time in Bournemouth. The new-look venue will open in the city centre on Monday (9 January) featuring a spacious bar and lounge, a bespoke menu for all-day dining, and live music. TGI Friday’s launched the concept in Newcastle in November, featuring a breakfast menu including classics such as American pancakes and Jack Daniel’s American breakfast, with a bottomless prosecco brunch at weekends. The lunch menu includes fresh and light options, such as duck salad, chargrilled chicken sandwich and Texas chilli bowl. The main menu features TGI Friday’s originals alongside new creations from chef Terry McDowell, including bacon lollipops, six different types of chicken thighs, and the Gravy Seal Burger (chicken escalope, beef burger, popcorn shrimp, caramelised onions and Colby cheese served with beef gravy). TGI Friday’s UK chief executive Karen Forrester said: “After the success of the first opening, we’re confident Friday’s fans in Bournemouth will love what they see.” A third new-concept Friday’s will open in Southampton in February.
Papa’s opens ‘world’s biggest fish and chip restaurant’, in Scarborough: Papa’s Fish and Chips has opened what is believed to be the world’s biggest fish and chip restaurant, in Scarborough. The company has opened the 450-seat venue on the site of the former Greene King-owned Hungry Horse pub on the outskirts of the town. Papa’s said the new site, which has created 100 jobs, had taken the crown of the world’s largest from Harry Ramsden’s in Bournemouth, which has capacity for 417 customers. Papas partner Dino Papas told SWNS: “The fact it is the biggest chip shop ever, with 450 seats, is big news for Scarborough.” Papa’s Fish and Chips, which operates 16 other sites across the UK, was founded in 1966 in Margate, Kent, and is still owned by the family. Last month, the company acquired Cleethorpes Pier and is planning a 500-seat restaurant at the site.
Two Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar to launch British food concept Hawkyns in Amersham: Two Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, who has been at the forefront of Indian fine dining, is set to open his first restaurant focused on British gastronomy. He will open 50-cover venue Hawkyns at the Crown Inn in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, on Sunday, 15 January, championing locally sourced and seasonal produce. The menu will combine British classic cuisine with subtle accents of Kochhar’s Indian culinary heritage. The restaurant is named after Sir William Hawkyns, of the East India Company, while the Crown is a former Elizabethan coaching inn that featured as the backdrop to the romantic tryst between Andie McDowell and Hugh Grant in Four Weddings And A Funeral. Kochhar told ITCM: “This is going to be my first restaurant offering a modern approach to traditional British cuisine. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.” A spokesman for Old Amersham Hotels added: “We are delighted Atul has agreed to partner with us at the Crown Inn. It is going to be a very exciting time for us all.” Kochhar currently operates three restaurants in the UK, including Michelin-starred Benares in Mayfair, as well as venues in Spain and Dubai, and two in Mumbai.
Parisian brasserie Ferdi to open first UK site: Parisian brasserie Ferdi is to open its first UK site, in London’s Mayfair. The concept, launched in the French capital in 2004, is opening the site this month in Shepherd Market. Created by Alicia and Jacques Fontanier, the Paris venue is named after their son Ferdinand, reports Hot Dinners. The menu will include the Mac Ferdi cheeseburger, while there will also be an extensive cocktail list.
Whitbread appoints Adam Crozier as non-executive director, will join remuneration committee: Whitbread has appointed ITV chief executive and former Football Association boss Adam Crozier as a non-executive director. Crozier’s appointment will be effective from Saturday, 1 April when he will also become a member of the remuneration committee. He has been chief executive of a number of public and private sector organisations during the past 21 years, in the media, logistics and retail sectors. Crozier began his career in sales and marketing, initially at Mars and then at the Telegraph, before joining Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in 1988, where he held a number of roles before being appointed joint chief executive in 1995. He went on to be chief executive of the Football Association and then Royal Mail Holdings before joining ITV in 2010. In addition, Crozier has held non-executive positions at Debenhams, Camelot Group and G4S. Whitbread chairman Richard Baker said: “Adam is a high-quality business leader, with a strong background in business transformations, brands, communication and marketing and his expertise will be of great value to the Whitbread board as we continue to expand our successful Premier Inn and Costa brands.”
The Real Greek sees pre-tax profit more than double as turnover surges past £10m: Mediterranean restaurant The Real Greek, which is owned by Fulham Shore, has more than doubled its pre-tax profit as turnover surged past the £10m mark. The company reported turnover increased to £11,699,000 for the year ending 27 March 2016, compared with £7,464,000 for the previous nine-month period. It saw pre-tax profit climb to £1,100,000, compared with £531,000 the previous year. Headline Ebitda increased to £1,894,000, compared with £1,121,000 the year before. During the period, the company opened one new restaurant, taking the total to nine sites. The company stated: “Turnover for the year ended 27 March 2016 is £11,699,000 (nine months ended 29 March 2015: £7,464,000). The company achieved headline Ebitda for the year ended 27 March 2016 of £1,894,000 (nine months ended 29 March 2015: £1,121,000) and an operating profit before restaurant opening costs, onerous leases, exceptional operating costs and impairment of tangible fixed assets for the year ended 27 March 2016 of £1,373,000 (nine months ended 29 March 2015: £818,000). The company will continue to improve trading and profitability of the existing group of restaurants and look for opportunities to open further restaurants across the UK.”
Maxwell’s adds second night of celebrations at George Michael-inspired nightclub following overwhelming response: Independently owned London hospitality group Maxwell’s is to add a second night of celebrations at its George Michael-inspired nightclub following an overwhelmingly response from the singer’s fans. The company had planned to open its Tropicana Beach Club in Covent Garden on Friday (6 January) with a night of Michael’s music, but after 6,000 people expressed an interest in coming, it is set to celebrate the singer again on Saturday (7 January). Maxwell’s marketing manager Anthony Knight told the Evening Standard: “The response has been incredible. Originally it was just meant to be a small event on Thursday. We then had to move it to the Friday and within 24 hours we had received more than 6,000 enquiries with fans from as far as Norway, Ireland, Germany and even Canada flying in especially. We are now encouraging people to come on Saturday as we won’t be able to accommodate everyone on Friday. It’s going to be a marathon of a party!”
Former Gordon Ramsay chef Clare Smyth secures Notting Hill site for first solo venture: Former Restaurant Gordon Ramsay chef Clare Smyth has signed for a restaurant in Notting Hill for her first solo venture. Due to open in late spring or early summer, the 60-cover restaurant will comprise a total of 3,921 square feet in Kensington Park Road and will replace Notting Hill Brasserie. Smyth, who was formerly chef patron at Ramsay’s Chelsea restaurant, has taken a new lease of 15 years at a rent of £135,000 per year. Restaurant Property acted on Smyth’s behalf and founder and agency director David Rawlinson told Property Week: “Clare has been looking for about a year for this type of site to come up and the former Notting Hill Brasserie ticked all the boxes.” Smyth added: “It was pretty fraught at times in 2016, but I’m thrilled to have exchanged on this particular site. It was my first choice and I just love the history of the building.” Yet to be named, the venue will be housed within the historic Victorian building, which first opened as a restaurant as Leith’s in 1969, with Prue Leith at the helm. It went on to win a Michelin star during its 26-year tenure. Leith’s closed in 1995 and the restaurant became a brasserie. The site will be remodelled extensively before reopening.
Square Pie reports December sales increase 14%, restaurant like-for-likes up 20% on average: Gourmet pie company Square Pie has reported total sales for December increased 14% on last year. It said it had a bumper month in its restaurants with like-for-like sales up 20% on average. Grocery and wholesale grew by 40% year-on-year with new customers in 2016 including Bidvest Food Service, Selfridges Food Hall and Sainsbury’s with a national listing in 400-plus stores. Founder Martin Dewey said: “After a tough 2015 we made some changes that have started delivering in the second half of 2016, and we’re looking forward to a busy 2017.” Square Pie, which was founded in 2001, operates five restaurants in the UK, including Westfield London, The O2 and Birmingham Grand Central.
Koko owner unveils boutique hotel plan as part of venue overhaul: The owner of Koko nightclub has unveiled plans to build a boutique hotel on top of a disused pub as part of an overhaul of the Camden Town venue. Olly Bengough, who took 100% ownership of Koko in November, and property firm Vevil International have bought up a cluster of buildings next to the former Camden Palace, and hope to return Koko to its former glory and create “destination Koko”. They plan to transform the Hope and Anchor pub in Crowndale Road, which closed in 2013, and two “dilapidated” industrial properties at the corner of Bayham Street into a 32-bedroom, “wrap-around” hotel. The five-storey hotel would have a bar and dining room on the ground floor of the former pub and a second restaurant in a fourth-floor “skylobby”. The existing flytower would be turned into a single VIP “giant signature suite” spread over two floors with a recording studio for stars playing gigs at Koko. The green copper dome containing the building’s original water tanks would be turned into a bar linking the theatre with the new hotel next door. In 2014, Camden Council granted permission for the pub to be developed for residential use but the decision was overturned in the High Court after Koko’s owners argued it would threaten the live music venue’s future. Bengough, who has owned the building for 13 years and is founder of broadcasting channel Cinémoi, said he was “extremely excited” about the proposals. “There are few venues in London as intimate and loved as Koko,” he told the Camden New Journal
Reuben brothers bring Grosvenor House hotel out of administration: Billionaire tycoons David and Simon Reuben have brought landmark London hotel Grosvenor House out of administration following a refinancing deal, Property Week reports. The senior debt secured against the hotel was already held by the Reuben brothers after they took over loans from Bank of China in 2015. A refinancing deal with the Reubens has now enabled the hotel’s owner, Sahara Grosvenor House Hospitality, to exit administration. Investors circling the hotel, which features 420 bedrooms, 74 suites, 27 meeting rooms and one of the largest five-star ballrooms in Europe, included a consortium of Saudi and UK family wealth funds fronted by 3 Associates, which tabled a £930m bid for Grosvenor House and a majority stake in New York’s Plaza hotel last year. Sahara Grosvenor House Hospitality bought the hotel, which is operated by Marriott International, for £470m in 2010 – the largest single-asset London hotel deal on record.
Pret names new headquarters in honour of first shop: Pret A Manger has named its new headquarters in honour of its first shop. The company has moved from Victoria station to nearby Bressenden Place and named the building 75B in honour of the first Pret shop that opened 30 years ago at 75B Victoria Street. Writing in his blog, chief executive Clive Schlee said: “Pret’s support centre enjoyed 15 happy years tucked in a corner of Victoria Station, London. Last year we received notice our lease would not be renewed and so began the search for a new home. A great deal of care and attention has gone into the design of 75B to create an environment with a sense of collaboration, informality, and history. There are no individual offices (I sit next to the customer service and social media teams), a timeline of Pret’s history is carved into the wood that runs around the central atrium of the office, and every meeting room is designed to reflect a city Pret operates in. I have judged the success of our move from the comments of some key stakeholders. Our shop managers tell me it makes them proud to work for Pret and I make a point of ensuring they know 75B is for their use too. Our receptionists tell me people coming in and out are livelier and more sociable, and the teams working here seem keen to show off the new office to visitors. All in all, the effort our creative team put into designing 75B is paying off and the new environment seems to be giving Pret a very nice lift.”
Indian small plates concept Kricket starts expansion with Soho site: Indian small plates concept Kricket, which launched inside Pop Brixton, Lambeth Council’s space dedicated to startup businesses, has started expansion by opening a second London site, this time in Soho. The new 70-cover restaurant in Denman Street is set across two floors, with an open kitchen and counter dining for walk-ins. There is also a communal dining area for 14 people downstairs that can be hired as a private dining space. The menu at the new venue includes new sections for robata-grilled dishes alongside bread, meat and fish dishes baked to order in a clay tandoor, Hot Dinners reports. The drinks menu features six regularly changing cocktails with an Indian touch.
Jewish soul food trader Monty’s Deli to open permanent site in east London: Jewish soul food trader Monty’s Deli will open its first bricks and mortar site at a former bakery in Hackney in April following a successful crowdfunding campaign. Mark Ogus and Owen Barratt, who launched the concept as a market stall in 2012, raised £50,000 in late 2016 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, with backers including The Observer’s restaurant critic Jay Rayner, celebrity chef Tom Kerridge and food writer Gizzi Erskine. Monty’s Deli, which is renowned for its chicken soup and sandwiches packed with home-made salt beef and pastrami, will bake bagels on-site at the Hoxton Street venue, along with home-made mustard, pickles and ferments, and cured meat. Available to eat in or take away, the counter will run a ticket-style service during breakfast and lunch, alongside a theatrical slicing bar and a baked goods section. Ogus said: “It was my grandfather, Monty, who introduced me to Jewish food. Owen and I both started in bands but share this obsession. It was a happy coincidence we ended up not only making delicious meat but enjoying the performance of the slicing bar, of building these beautiful sandwiches and creating a great show people can take part in too.”
Italian pizzeria owners to launch Quartieri concept in London: The owners of Pizzeria Trianon in Naples are set to launch authentic Napoletana pizzeria concept Quartieri in Kilburn, north London. Tony Carelli, Alessandro Esposito and Alessio Falanga will launch the 70-cover restaurant this spring, using an authentic family recipe dating to 1923. Flour and grain is milled using a traditional method and combined with Naples-inspired toppings to create “cartwheel” pizzas for sharing. The menu will be divided into four sections – antipasti, la storia (the classics), la innovazioni (Quartieri specials) and dolce. Diners will be able to see pizzaiolos knead, flip and bake pizzas in front of them. A selection of sweet pizzas will also be on offer, alongside artisan ice cream from Gelupo in London and cheese from Campania. Wine has been selected from independent producers in the Naples region, while beer will come from Italian brewery Birrificio del Ducatto. The decor will feature geometric shapes, creating a contemporary take on 1960s Naples, with a hand-made, flash-flame pizza oven at the centre. The space will be divided into four quarters, each representing a part of Naples, while music will be curated by DJs the Smoking Guns, focusing on northern soul, funk, rhythm and blues, ska and rock ‘n’ roll.
Hawkshead brews a million litres of beer in 2016, 65% of production cask-conditioned: Lake District brewer Hawkshead has revealed it brewed more than a million litres of beer in 2016. It clocked up a total of 10,169 hectolitres (1,016,900 litres) in the calendar year – an increase of 8% on 2015, made possible by a £175,000 investment in extra fermentation capacity in spring last year. The company said 65% of its 2016 production was cask-conditioned beer. Owner Alex Brodie said: “Cask led the British brewing revolution. It is unique to Britain. Cask is this country’s craft. We believe in cask and we are investing in it.” As part of its “Cask Session Series”, Hawkshead is planning a new cask beer a month throughout 2017, starting with January’s “Session IPA” at 4.7%, which builds on the beer of the same name brewed in collaboration with a dozen craft brewers at Hawkshead’s July beer festival – Northern Craft. Hawkshead, which was founded in 2002, puts on the Northern Craft Beer Fest twice a year, in March and July, at its brewery tap, The Beer Hall, to celebrate innovative craft brewing in the north of Britain.