PizzaExpress makes motorway services debut via Welcome Break partnership: PizzaExpress has opened its first motorway services site via a partnership with Welcome Break. The restaurant has launched in Oxford Services at Junction 8A of the M40, creating 40 jobs. The 88-seater venue offers table service to hotel guests and motorway service visitors. PizzaExpress chief executive JinLong Wang said: “This new opening represents a key part of the company’s expansion, extending our brand footprint into new locations and formats. We are delighted to work with Welcome Break and bring PizzaExpress to Oxford Services. Excellence in everything we do is what we aspire to and Welcome Break is the ideal partner to ensure we continue to deliver exactly what our customers expect and love while making our brand even more accessible.” Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie added: “We are confident our customers will welcome the addition of one of the UK’s most popular and much-loved restaurant brands. In recent years we have seen a growing trend of customers wanting to spend more time at our service stations across the UK and enjoy a dining experience comparable to the high street. I am delighted PizzaExpress will allow us to offer that experience. Our joint aim is to open many more PizzaExpress restaurants across our UK motorway network.”

Paul UK to open 37th site as it doubles up in Oxford: French artisan bakery and patisserie Paul is to open its 37th site, at the new £440m Westgate Oxford development. The company will open the 123 square foot outlet on Monday, 18 December. It will be the group’s third opening outside London including a Paul cafe in Oxford’s High Street. The 52-cover kiosk will offer Paul’s signature range of pastries, baguettes, salads, patisserie such as individual cakes and tartlets, and hot drinks. Chief executive Jean-Michel Orieux said: “Our existing site in Oxford is consistently performing well and we believe it is an ideal location for a second site. It has a wonderful balance of cultural heritage, a well-established local community and vibrant economic and tourist activity, which will help the growth of our business.”

Heartstone Inns acquires Somerset pub: Heartstone Inns, the managed pub operator of quality freehold food-led pubs, has acquired The Two Brewers in Street, Somerset, in an off-market deal. Heartstone acquired the pub from Richard and Maggie Pearce, who had owned it for 23 years but are now retiring from the sector. Heartstone Inns managing director James Birch said: “We are delighted to have added the charming and ideally located Two Brewers to the Heartstone Inns family of pubs.” Nicholas Calfe, director at Christie & Co’s Bristol office and who handled the sale, added: “The demand for well-trading pubs in ideal settings is particularly high in the south west at the moment.” The Two Brewers is Heartstone Inns’ 15th site.

Cumbrian-based The Lakes Distillery closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £1.75m: Cumbrian-based The Lakes Distillery has closed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising £1.75m. The company, founded by Paul Currie and Nigel Mills, was aiming to raise £1m in return for a 2.46% equity stake and hit its target within three days of the campaign being launched. It has now closed the fund-raise after 2,585 investors pledged £1.75m. The largest investment was £100,000. The funds will be used to increase the production of whisky stock and invest in new warehousing and distribution facilities. The company, which is based near Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District National Park, has generated £2.8m of its £9.5m revenue from hospitality companies since launching in 2014. It has so far produced the equivalent of more than 600,000 bottles of whisky spirit with an estimated £30m of retail value.

Joule’s eyes return to Stone for first new-build pub: Shropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s, which is headed by Steve Nuttall, has submitted plans to return to its spiritual home in Stone, Staffordshire. The company has acquired land next to the Trent And Mersey Canal as it passes through Stone town centre, with proposals to create offices and its first new-build pub. The Crown Wharf site was part of the original Joule’s warehouse operation when the company exported Stone Ales from Liverpool – Joule’s was the first English beer exported to the US ahead of rival Bass. The site is currently a car park and has been acquired by Joule’s from the Canals And Rivers Trust. Nuttall said the company had been looking for some years to create a flagship taphouse in Stone, where Francis Joules established the second Joule’s brewery in 1779 having moved from Salford. Nuttall said: “This acquisition provides us with an opportunity to embrace the Joule’s story and return the brand to Stone with some style. Our boardroom will once again be in Stone and we intend to establish a full brewery taphouse by the canal. This will be the first pub we have built from the ground up.” Joule’s also said it would provide space at the site should the council decide to establish a heritage centre. Stone MP Bill Cash said: “It is exciting to see a local company with so much history in the town returning and investing.” Joule’s has 39 Joule’s Taps and three unbranded pubs in its estate. Its brewery will remain in Market Drayton, Shropshire.

Humble Grape to launch City wine bar for fourth London site: Humble Grape, the wine bar and shop concept founded by James Dawson, is set to open a wine bar in the City of London early next year for its fourth site in the capital. The venue is due to open in Devonshire Row on Thursday, 1 February offering 30 wines by the glass and a further 400 by the bottle from a larger, evolving list. The venue will also feature a “winemaker wall”, which will reveal where the wines originate from and stories behind the vineyards, Hot Dinners reports. The food menu by executive head chef Kishen Raheja will feature small plates focusing on ethically sourced, seasonal ingredients such as cuttlefish stew with chorizo, fennel and creme fraiche, and duck confit with clementine. There will also be cheese from north London-based Wildes Cheese, while fish will be delivered straight from the dayboats. The venue will seat 54 people over two floors with wine also available to purchase to take away. Humble Grape’s other sites are in Fleet Street, Battersea and Islington, with plans for a further opening in Liverpool Street. In May, the company raised almost £1.3m for expansion on crowdfunding platform Seedrs.

Pergola team launches Feast Bar & Kitchen food and drinks complex in White City: Incipio Group, the company behind street food pop-up Pergola, renowned for its rooftop venture at the former BBC Television Centre in White City, London, has returned to the space to launch a food and drinks complex. The company has opened Feast Bar & Kitchen after transforming the BBC’s former headquarters into a 5,000 square foot, 300-capacity restaurant hub with alfresco seating and a rotating line-up of street food vendors. The first batch of traders includes taco restaurant Del 74 and Hackney-based Morty & Bob’s, which offers salads and grilled cheese toasties, Hot Dinners reports. Incipio said future traders would offer a diverse range of food including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Incipio Group is also behind street food festival Little Feast in Shepherd’s Bush and Feast Canteen food court, which will open at Hammersmith’s King’s Mall shopping centre next year. The company also operated alfresco dining spot Pergola Paddington Square earlier this year and last month launched an 800-capacity venture at The Prince pub in West Brompton Crossing, west London, which features two bars, four restaurants and an “enclosed woodland pergola garden”.

Ei Group to give away 45,000 pints in January to drive footfall: Ei Group’s leased and tenanted division Ei Publican Partnerships is partnering with a range of brewers to help its publicans increase sales and footfall by offering 45,000 free pints during January. The nationwide promotion will allow customers to track the pubs taking part in the offer and redeem their free drink via a web-based app. The offer, in partnership with brewers Molson Coors, Heineken and Meantime Brewery, as well as Diageo, will be available at more than 1,500 pubs. As in previous campaigns, Ei Publican Partnerships will further support publicans via point-of sale materials such as banners, window vinyls, entertainment ideas and digital assets. The campaign will also be activated via Ei Group’s developing digital presence across social, email and affiliate channels. Ei Group retail concept director Steve de Polo said: “January is generally the quietest time of year for pubs. We want to motivate consumers to get out of the house and battle the winter blues with their friends and family by heading down the pub for a beer on us. We are determined to work in a collaborative partnership with our publicans and key suppliers by utilising our assets to help them increase sales.” The web-based app has been developed for smartphones and tablets to support the campaign, with the first 45,000 consumers able to access an e-voucher to claim their free pint alongside a list of participating pubs where it can be redeemed.

Chesterford Group opens two Churchill’s Fish and Chips sites in ten days: The Chesterford Group has wrapped up the year by opening two takeaway sites in ten days for its Churchill’s Fish and Chips brands to take the company’s portfolio to 41 sites in total. The launch of Churchill’s Fish and Chips in Beaulieu Square in Chelmsford, Essex, was swiftly followed by another opening in Didcot, near Oxford. Both sites are located on new housing developments as part of Chesterford’s strategy for Churchill’s to be at the “core of new and growing communities”. The takeaways, which offer gluten-free and click-and-collect options, take the total tally of Churchill’s stores to 13, capping off a busy 2017 for the brand, which has opened five stores this year.

M&B launches O’Neill’s bar in Manchester’s Printworks: Mitchells & Butlers has opened the latest site for its Irish bar brand O’Neill’s, in Manchester’s Printworks creating 30 jobs. The Irish-style tavern offers stone-baked pizzas, 21 day-aged steaks, “low and slow” meat and rib options, as well as mix-and-match tapas. Alongside Guinness, O’Neill’s Printworks offers a wide selection of craft beer, ale and cider and also features a high-definition video wall to screen sporting events. General manager Stephen Winstanley said: “We’re bringing something new to The Printworks. Myself and the team are confident our easy-going bar, live music and entertainment offer will go down well.” The Printworks was once Europe’s largest printing facility producing national newspapers including the Telegraph and Mirror. The building has been reinvented as a leisure complex featuring a Vue cinema and brands such as Hard Rock Café, Tiger Tiger, Walkabout and Nando’s.

Adil Group opens first Taco Bell in Scotland: The Adil Group, which operates more than 120 KFC, Burger King and Costa Coffee sites across the UK, has opened a first site for Taco Bell in Scotland with plans to open “double-digit figures over the next five years”. The restaurant has opened in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow city centre at a site formerly occupied by Bradfords Bakery. The Adil Group chief executive Raja Adil said: “We are incredibly excited to open the first Taco Bell in Scotland. We have big plans for expansion across the country, hoping to increase the number of Taco Bell stores in Scotland to double-digit figures over the next five years.” Taco Bell Europe general manager Nick Dawson added: “Glasgow is the perfect place to start our march north.” In October, the company lodged plans to open its second Scottish site – and second UK drive-thru – in Linwood, Renfrewshire. Taco Bell, which is part of Yum! Brands, has 18 sites in England including its only other drive-thru, in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. The Adil Group also owns and operates four hotels under its own brand, Maitrise Hotels.

French and Japanese fusion pop-up Bistro Mirey secures permanent site in Fulham: French and Japanese fusion pop-up Bistro Mirey has secured a permanent site in Fulham, west London. Chefs Gerald Mirey and Ko Ito will launch their debut bricks-and-mortar site in Lillie Road on Friday, 12 January. The chefs have operated a number of pop-ups and supper clubs in the capital, with their menu evolving along the way. Bistro Mirey will offer the same “intimate and unique supper club experience”, serving lunch and dinner daily as well as weekend brunch and Sunday lunch, with many ingredients sourced from local markets. Starters will include steak tartar and spiced potted shrimp, while mains on the winter menu will include Hokkaido-style pheasant with root vegetables and blueberry sauce, and braised beef cheek in red wine with miso and wasabi mash. Desserts will include French galette and matcha ice cream, while the French wine list will sit alongside a Japanese sake menu. Normandy-born and classically trained Mirey was most recently head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow restaurant, while Ko hails from Hokkaido Island in Japan and fuses Japanese tradition with Western influences.

Milan-based restaurateur launches Italian food and wine-focused venue in Kensington: Restaurateur Claudio Gelmini has opened Italian food and wine-focused venue Enoteca Rosso in London. Gelmini, who owns and runs Milanese restaurant Il Cinghiale Rosso, has launched the venture in Kensington High Street showcasing the “diversity of Italian regional wine and seasonal food”. The menu features freshly made pasta and gnocchi, charcuterie, cheese and freshly prepared Italian desserts. The 70-cover restaurant’s interiors feature rustic touches such as terracotta wine racks and communal tables alongside a large open bar and counter. Walls are lined with bottles of rare Italian wine sourced from small-batch producers. There is also a ten-cover private dining room, The Vault, inspired by the site’s previous incarnation as a bank. The kitchen is headed by Flavio Militello, who formerly worked at Michelin-starred restaurant Felix Lo Basso in Milan. Gelmini, who runs front-of-house, said: “Enoteca Rosso offers that particularly Italian way of eating, tasting and above all talking about food and wine. It’s about encapsulating the attitude and the passion.”

Twisted Bars opens second site, in Ilkley: Twisted Bars, founded by Yorkshire entrepreneurs Adam Lewis and Paul Glendinning, has opened the Ticket Office Bar within Ilkley train station for its second site. The company has invested £250,000 to develop the 3,000 square foot, high-end cocktail and drinks bar. Alongside cocktail favourites including espresso martinis, the drinks menu includes a nod to local landmarks such as bourbon-based tipples Smoke On The Moor and Ilkley Mure Bah Tat. The bar also stocks a range of premium wine, champagne, spirits, cask ale and craft beer. During the day, there is also a range of coffee, non-alcoholic cocktails and loose-leaf tea. There are plans to open a heated outdoor terrace and launch a food menu in the spring. Manager Lawrence Doyle said: “We’re a small, independent business and are proud to be part of Ilkley’s re-emerging night scene. We’ve not gone overboard on the railway theme but customers can expect to find a nod to the building’s heritage in our stylish interiors.” Lewis, who also owns Yard bars in Ilkley and Malton, joined forces at the end of last year with Glendinning to launch Everybodys All Day Social in Guiseley under the Twisted Bars banner. The company previously said it was looking to rapidly expand by opening a further eight sites in Yorkshire in the next eight to nine years.

Gather & Gather signs partnership with Well Grounded to develop new barista talent: Gather & Gather, the catering arm of FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing company Mitie, has partnered with speciality coffee training academy Well Grounded as part of a plan to develop baristas for its front-of-house teams. East London-based Well Grounded supports individuals who might face barriers to work by putting them through its Speciality Coffee Association-accredited training programme. The academy provides cafes with employees and more than four-fifths (84%) of graduates have gone on to carve a career as a barista. Gather & Gather said the partnership would help to tackling a growing demand for skilled baristas in the speciality coffee market – the industry predicts 40,000 jobs will be required during the next six years – while mining its “own seam of talent”. Rob Fredrickson, Gather & Gather managing director London & Venues, said: “We have agreed to sponsor eight trainees, support their coffee education, provide them with paid placements across our London clients, and offer them full-time employment once the programme has finished. It allows us to put something back into the local community and mine our own seam of talent.” Well Grounded managing director Eve Wagg added: “We are looking forward to a long-term partnership with Rob and his team.”

Former Greene King publicans take on Cotswolds country inn: Four former Greene King publicans have taken on a country inn in the Cotswolds. Sadie Price, Ian Hogg and Lillian and Frankie Chambers have acquired a 20-year free-of-tie lease for Tipputs Inn in Horsley, Gloucestershire, through agent Christie & Co. The 18th century property includes a restaurant with 100 covers. Previous owner Richard Pratt, who bought the business three years ago, decided to sell Tipputs Inn to focus on other business commitments in the UK and overseas. Price, Hogg and the Chambers are experienced publicans who until recently ran Hunter’s Hall in nearby Kingscote, part of the Old English Inn brand owned by Greene King. They plan to bring Tipputs Inn back to its 200-year-old roots as a traditional Cotswolds pub complete with a new menu that will focus on “fresh, high-quality and affordable food”.

Belfast bar operator to launch cocktails and tapas concept: Anthony Farrell, who founded Belfast bars Love & Death and Aether & Echo, is to launch a cocktails and tapas concept, Blaklist, in the Cathedral Quarter. He told the Belfast Telegraph: “I have drawn inspiration from the bars, places and people I have worked in and with including Barcelona, Paris, New York and Belfast. The vision is for Blaklist to be an artistic meeting place where people can relax and socialise in a venue that is customer-orientated, atmospheric and experiential, which will deliver an experience like no other Belfast bar. We have transformed a formerly unused space into a vibrant new venue in the heart of the city centre. This is an area being extensively regenerated and we are proud to be part of its exciting new development.” Farrell managed hospitality at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Belfast in 2011 and opened Aether & Echo in Lower Garfield Street, which has since been taken over. He is also director of training company San-greal Bartending.

Wadworth toasts success of drinks workshops for tenanted partners: Wadworth, the Wiltshire-based pub operator and family brewer, has said the three drinks workshops it ran for its tenanted business partners received 100% attendance from the 56 pubs invited to the event with many bringing along team members. The workshops were held to help educate tenants following Wadworth’s new drinks partnership with Bibendum Wines. Each event included an introduction to the new Wadworth wine range supplied through Bibendum and a Diageo masterclass on spirits and cocktails. The day also featured wine-tasting led by Spy Valley Wines and a wine list design style consultation from Little White Van Print Solutions. Wadworth tenanted trade director Lloyd Stephens said: “We’re delighted so many of our business partners chose to attend these invaluable workshops. It demonstrates high levels of interest and engagement from our tenanted trade for the enhanced range and support available.” Devizes-based Wadworth operates more than 200 pubs across the south west.

Boxpark wins leisure development award for Croydon site: Boxpark has won the Revo Gold Award for Best Leisure Development 2017 for its Croydon site. The awards celebrate the best examples of development, investment and asset management and this year were revamped to reflect the diversity and innovative approaches to doing business in the retail property and placemaking sector. It is the fourth accolade for Boxpark Croydon in its first year, receiving the Meanwhile award at the New London Awards, RIBA London Award 2017, and Retail Week’s Best Store for Food and Drink prize. Boxpark Croydon opened in December 2016, and features a scheme built from shipping containers with a central covered market space. Founder and chief executive Roger Wade said: “Boxpark Croydon is our first food and drink only development, and to be recognised as the Best Leisure Development in the UK in a wonderful achievement for Boxpark and the entire team.”