CAU set to open York city centre site: Argentinian-inspired restaurant brand CAU, which is owned by Gaucho, is set to open a site in York city centre. CAU, which opened its first venue in Yorkshire in June – in the £10m redeveloped Beales department store in Harrogate – plans to move into the former Christmas Angels store in Low Petergate. Christmas Angels closed in February after London-based landlords Space Property Corporation gained planning permission to turn the shop into a restaurant. CAU has applied to City of York Council for a licence to serve alcohol from 9am to midnight, with the opening hours stated as 7am to midnight. The site includes a basement, a ground floor measuring 1,600 square feet, and three floors above. CAU has grown rapidly since its launch in 2010 and currently has 19 outlets across the UK as well as one in Amsterdam.
ASK Italian signs for Milton Keynes site: Hermes Investment Management has announced casual dining brand ASK Italian will open a restaurant at centre:mk in Milton Keynes in the autumn. Located in Eagle Walk and adjacent to Middleton Hall, ASK Italian will feature a 160-cover restaurant comprising 4,187 square feet of dining space over two floors. The new restaurant adds to 30 food and beverage providers at centre:mk, equating to more than 1,400 covers. Ed Sellick, on behalf of centre:mk joint owners Hermes Investment Management and AustralianSuper, said: “ASK Italian’s decision to select centre:mk as part of its expansion plans reflects the strength of the centre’s reputation as one of the leading retail and leisure destinations in the UK. The popular concept appeals to all ages and is perfect for daytime and evening trade. Our visitors will enjoy this new dining offer and Middleton Hall is a perfect showcase – providing a sense of entertainment while dining.”
Turtle Bay eyes Winchester opening: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay is eyeing its first site in Winchester. An application has been submitted to convert a former Toni & Guy salon in St George’s Street, which has been empty since the company relocated in April, into a 100-seater restaurant. Applicant Aqua Nova LLP wants to merge the salon with the empty Movers & Shapers store next door. A well-informed source told the Daily Echo they believed Aqua Nova was acting on behalf of Turtle Bay. A Turtle Bay spokeswoman did not deny the claim but added that the company could not “confirm anything as of yet.” Turtle Bay is set to open its latest site in Norwich this month. The 180-cover restaurant will span two floors, with a bar designed like an island hut, an open street food-style kitchen and a VW camper van transformed into a seating area. Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 28 sites across the UK, having opened its first site in Milton Keynes in 2010.
Pret A Manger to open its second Bath site, this week: Pret A Manger will open its second site in Bath on Friday 19 August, this time in the main square of Southgate Shopping Centre. Pret A Manger will be the first company to trade at the site since coffee shop Lavazza Espression closed in January. The site will open at 7am each weekday and offer free Wi-Fi and a seating area of almost 100 spaces, inside and out, offering a comfortable pit-stop for shoppers or commuters on their way to work. Giuseppe Renna, manager of the new store, told the Bath Chronicle: “Our first Bath shop opened in Stall Street ten years ago next month, and we’re thrilled to now be opening a beautiful second site at SouthGate and getting to know our new customers.” Renna said all food would be hand-made in the shop kitchen each day, with unsold produce given to local homeless charities every evening. A spokesman for Pret A Manger said the company donated more than three million food items across the UK last year. Renna added: “We’re looking for local charities to support through food donations each night.” Pret A Manger operates more than 350 sites worldwide.
Bocca di Lupo co-founder Jacob Kenedy to reopen demolition-threatened Islington pub after £2.3m acquisition, plans cajun and creole menu: Bocca di Lupo co-founder Jacob Kenedy will reopen a demolition-threatened Islington pub later this year after acquiring it for £2.3m. The Prince of Wales, on the banks of Regent’s Canal, looked set to be converted into luxury flats after it closed in 2014. However, the pub on the corner of Sudeley Street and Vincent Terrace was saved after Kenedy discovered it by chance while walking along the canal looking for a place to live. Kenedy, who was born a stone’s throw away in Noel Road, told the Islington Tribune: “I rang the agent, who said it was not for sale, but in the end I was able to buy it. The building really was quite neglected but it’s a real jewel and we’re restoring as much of it as we can.” Kenedy will rename the pub Plaquemine Lock after the Louisiana city in which his grandmother – the late actress, painter and socialite Virginia Campbell – was born. The pub will feature a standing area and serve real ale as well as London-brewed beers and cocktails. It will also offer a cajun and creole menu and Kenedy, who will live above the pub, added: “Cajun and creole is the most amazing cuisine. I always dreamt of opening a Louisiana-themed restaurant but this has given me an opportunity to take a more realistic approach to it – and it is very compatible with a traditional British pub.” Plaquemine Lock is expected to open just before Christmas. Kenedy also operates another West End Italian restaurant – Vico – with his Bocca di Lupo co-founder Victor Hugo.
Levy Restaurants launches new bar and grill at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham: Levy Restaurants UK, the sports, leisure and hospitality operator, has launched a new bar and grill in the foyer of Motorpoint Arena Nottingham. Encore Bar & Grill offers an authentic American bar menu, including sharing platters and pulled pork, alongside seasonal craft beers and premier lager. The interior of the former T&D cafe has undergone a six-week refurbishment and features exposed brick and brushed metal and plush sofas. Levy Restaurants general manager Jane Rhoden told West Bridgford Wire: “As well as a brilliant new menu, we’ve been able to add more tables and chairs so we can accommodate more customers, something that will be especially helpful during event nights. We’ve also doubled the size of the bar.” Motorpoint Arena Nottingham is housed in the National Ice Centre and hosts touring artists such as Paul Simon and Rod Stewart. Levy Restaurants is the venue’s contract caterer and also operates at other major UK sites such as the O2 Arena, Twickenham rugby stadium and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Wahaca to open restaurant in Chichester next month: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca will open a site in Chichester, West Sussex, next month. The company, which was co-founded by 2005 MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby, will open the restaurant on Monday, 12 September in South Street on the site of the former Cargo store. Wahaca showcases street and graffiti artists’ work in its restaurants, inviting artists from across the world to leave their mark on each site. In Chichester, the 152-cover venue will feature artwork from Barcelona-based street artist Gola Hundun. A Wahaca spokesperson told the Chichester Observer: “We’ve been watching as the food scene in Chichester continues to go from strength to strength and we can’t wait to become a part of it.” Wahaca currently has 23 sites in the UK, the majority of which are in London.
Manchester-based restaurateur launches £1.5m city centre concept Menagerie featuring bathtub full of champagne and dancing girls: Karina Jadhav, co-founder of Spinningfields restaurant and bar Neighbourhood, has launched £1.5m Manchester city centre concept Menagerie. The bar-restaurant is in a 7,500 square foot ground-floor site within One New Bailey, an eight-storey development on the banks of the River Irwell. The venue offers an “immersive” dining experience including the happy hour chandelier – a light fitting by day that women hang from by night, pouring champagne into glasses held aloft – and a bathtub next to the bar filled with champagne and dancing girls. Cocktails include the Mine Tastes Better Than Yours, which comes with a fake £20 note garnish that is set on fire. The bar’s centrepiece is a central booth with gold leather sofas housed in a giant ornamental birdcage. The 250-cover, split-level restaurant offers modern American cuisine with dining tables punctuated by a central, neon-lit catwalk hosting anything from fashion shows to theatre performances. Jadhav told the Manchester Evening News: “Every element is put in place to be interactive. Basically the venue is set up to house performance and art. Menagerie will introduce a new wave of experiential vibrant dining to Manchester, which really represents my personal evolution in the industry. A menagerie is a collection of the enticing and exotic, which is exactly what my concept will bring to Manchester.”
Ruby Tuesday to close 95 underperforming, company-owned sites: American restaurant brand Ruby Tuesday has revealed it will close about 15% of its company-owned restaurants by September. The company stated: “Ruby Tuesday recently completed a comprehensive review of its corporate-owned restaurant portfolio and determined it was in the company’s best interests to close about 95 underperforming restaurants.” The decision comes following a “rigorous unit-level analysis of sales, cash flows and other key performance metrics, as well as site location, market positioning and lease status”, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. At the end of its fourth quarter, Ruby Tuesday had 646 company-owned restaurants out of 724 sites. Chairman, president and chief executive JJ Buettgen said: “The decision to close restaurants is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our organisation. Performance at each of these locations, despite the loyalty of valued guests and the efforts of our dedicated employees, was not meeting expectations. Full-time and part-time employees impacted by closures will be offered positions in nearby restaurants where possible.” The company said like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter ended 31 May 2016 declined 3.7%. Revenue fell 5.9% to $279.3m, compared with $296.8m the previous year. Buettgen said: “Through our goal of attracting more women and young families, as well as increasing visits from our current Ruby Tuesday guests, we believe we can return to positive like-for-like sales, expand restaurant level margins and increase operating profit.”
Pirate-themed rum bar Man’s Ruin to launch in Liverpool this month: Man’s Ruin, a pirate-themed rum bar, is set to launch in Liverpool this month. The concept, the brainchild of Joe McMahon, Adam Ramsey and Dan Friend, owners of the Graffiti and Wall of Fame venues in the city, will open in Stanley Street on Thursday, 25 August. The bar will be a separate venue but housed within the business partners’ new venture – over-21s-only nightclub Void. The bar will feature a dark wood interior and booths made from giant barrels, with quirky lighting, artwork and a luxury Captain’s Quarter. The owners told the Liverpool Echo: “The concept for Man’s Ruin was inspired by a venue we visited in America as we wanted to introduce something a little more edgy and out-there in this end of town. While the original idea was to create a tiki bar, we decided to expand on this and instead base it around the look and feel of a pirate ship, focusing on rum and things associated with pirates such as women, tattoos, gambling and drink. We are looking forward to adding a novel new dimension to the city’s nightlife.” Man’s Ruin will open Thursday to Sunday, from 7pm until late.
Silk Road-inspired Samarkand restaurant opens in Fitzrovia: Samarkand, a restaurant inspired by the Silk Road and offering cuisine from Uzbekistan, has opened in Fitzrovia. The 150 square metre restaurant in Charlotte Street, on the former site of Spanish tapas restaurant Fino, offers traditional Uzbek dishes with a contemporary touch for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The venue features a 130-cover dining room, with a 70 square foot mezzanine lounge bar serving an extensive selection of vodkas. Founder Sanjar Nabiev has taken influences from his childhood to offer a modern take on Uzbek cuisine. Signature dishes include fatinon (flaky, buttery bread), somsa (pastry parcels filled with lamb or sweet potato) and plov (fried rice with lamb and vegetables) – served alongside a shot of vodka. In addition, there is a selection of bar snacks such as pickled vegetables and baclajan (aubergine caviar) on offer. Nabiev said: “I’m delighted to showcase the fusion of cultures and food the Silk Road has to offer. With cuisines so rarely showcased and interiors inspired by one of the oldest inhabited cities, we feel Samarkand will be a unique addition to London’s diverse culinary scene.”
North east-based multi-siter set to open Moulin Rouge-inspired cabaret restaurant in Sunderland: North east-based multi-site operator Paul Rowe is set to open a Moulin Rouge-inspired cabaret restaurant concept in Sunderland this month. Rowe, who owns Eazy Street venues in Newcastle and Sunderland, is launching Be Our Guest on the site of a former nightclub in Vine Place. The venue is being transformed into a cabaret-based restaurant, complete with drag shows inspired by the Paris tourist attraction put together by “Doctor Drag”, aka David Dale. Be Our Guest will serve dishes including lamb shank, grilled seabass and traditional Sunday lunches from a menu that will change weekly. Dale told the Sunderland Echo: “Throughout my years being involved in drag and through experience of clubs all over the world, I’ve learned the best way to go about it is to make it much more of a show and a spectacle. We want Be Our Guest to really distance itself from some of the negatives and get drag out of the gutter some people wrongly assume its in. When I was asked by Paul to work with him, my first thought was ‘why Sunderland?’ But after looking into it, it made a lot of sense and it’s something to really get excited about.”
London-based frozen yogurt company Sloane Bros set to open second site, in Nottingham: London-based frozen yogurt company Sloane Bros is set to open its second site, this time in Nottingham. The company, which launched its first venue in Brick Lane, east London, will open its new outlet at the Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham on Saturday (20 August). It will be positioned on the centre’s lower mall near WH Smith and will be the only frozen yogurt kiosk in the centre. The Sloane Bros’ Master Yoghurteers kiosk will offer four flavours – natural yogurt, chocolate hazelnut, Dulce de Leche, and one changing “guest flavour”, which can be topped off with a host of treats. Intu Victoria Centre general manager Nigel Wheatley told the Nottingham Post: “We are all really looking forward to Sloane Bros opening at the centre – it is something new and exciting for the city. Since launching the Clocktower dining area at the centre last year we now have a great range of restaurants available for our customers, with even more to come, and we think the new frozen yoghurt kiosk will really complement what we already have. We are certain it will be hugely popular with our customers looking for a treat during their day out.”
Nando’s-style restaurant and bar concept to open at former Chicago Rock site in Barnsley: A “Nando’s-style” restaurant and bar concept is set to open in a former Chicago Rock site in Barnsley. Maria Ramos is launching Regency Bar and Grill in the vacant building in Wellington Street. Manager Phil Booth said the initial work to restore the building would focus on the ground floor – but with “big plans for the upstairs”. He told We Are Barnsley: “We have put an advert out to gauge public interest and see what people might want to see upstairs. It’s not going to be another Hedonism or Mambos but something like a big soft play area and a laser quest. Downstairs it is going to be like a Nando’s-style restaurant. We’re looking to open downstairs for August bank holiday and the upstairs nearer Christmas.”
Sourdough concept Bertha’s Pizza opens permanent site in Bristol: Sourdough concept Bertha’s Pizza, which operates at events across the UK from the back of a Land Rover Defender, has opened a permanent site in Bristol – at The Old Gaol Stables in the Wapping Wharf development. A three-tonne, hand-built Neapolitan oven called Bertha is the centrepiece of the restaurant and runs at more than 500C, cooking pizzas in 60 seconds and creating flecks of char on the characteristic long-ferment sourdough base. The pizza menu will change seasonally, while the venue makes its own mozzarella and charcuterie. Bertha’s Pizza is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 5pm and 10pm. Company co-founder Kate Faragher said: “Bertha’s is a friendly, owner-run, neighbourhood restaurant serving simple, affordable food which brings a smile to your face. We will team up with the best producers, the more local and sustainable the better.” Bertha’s Pizza will continue to attend events in its Land Rover. The business was a BBC Food & Farming Awards finalist.
Co-owner of Nepalese restaurant in Spalding opens fine dining Japanese venue in town: The co-owner of a Nepalese restaurant in Spalding has opened a fine dining Japanese concept in the Lincolnshire town. Deepak Chatri, who is a partner in the Ghurkha Oven, has launched Katana in Double Street on the site of former Thai restaurant Mai Thai. The restaurant has been designed so diners can watch their meals being cooked on a teppan by chefs using juggling, flipping and a dash of fire, reports Spalding Today. The menu includes teppanyaki main courses featuring chicken, rib eye steak, sea bass, salmon, duck and lamb – all served with a sauce of choice, teppanyaki vegetables and steamed or grilled rice. There are also Japanese curry, vegetarian and sushi dishes.
House of Tiago rodizio to open in Tokyo Industries’ Brew Haus site in Lincoln next month: Norwich-based Sirius Investments will open its second Brazilian rodizio restaurant, this time within Tokyo Industries’ Brew Haus bar in Lincoln in September. The Brew Haus venue will be remodelled and rebranded as The House and Bar of Tiago, offering cuisine from across the globe and creating up to 15 jobs. Sirius, which operates a House of Tiago site in Norwich, will run the new Brazilian-style restaurant alongside the existing Brew Haus bar after striking a rental deal with Tokyo Industries, which is led by Aaron Mellor. The revamped venue will feature an £8,000 grill from Brazil, with the menu offering up to 16 different meats and a hot and cold buffet. Carvers will pass from table to table and cut up meat in front of customers in Brazilian rodizio style. The Brew Haus bar will continue to be run as normal. Sirius Investments operations director Charlie Hewitt told the Lincolnshire Echo: “We are very happy to be expanding into Lincoln. I have some family that live close by and I love the city – it has a lot of history. We can’t wait to get started and are excited to start running a successful business for everyone to enjoy.”
FrogPubs’ micro-brewery FrogBeer wins six medals at International Beer Challenge: French micro-brewery FrogBeer, which is owned and operated by pub group FrogPubs out of Paris, has been awarded six medals for its beers at this year’s International Beer Challenge. FrogBeers’ first brew Inseine, a classic British best bitter, received a silver in its category while the brewery’s latest release White Light, a heavily dry-hopped White IPA, received a bronze in the “experimental beers” category. Other beers to receive awards were two from the Superheroes Series – a range released in 2014 putting American hops at the centre of each recipe – Thawack! And Kersplat, which both received bronze. The group’s classic Witbier “Maison Blanche” and the Spelt Saison from this year’s Cereals Series, also won bronzes. FrogPubs and FrogBeer founder and president Paul Chantler said: “These six new medals, awarded by a competition of such calibre, underline once more the incredible work our brewers invest daily in ensuring our beers are of the absolute highest quality. By rewarding timeless classics like Inseine alongside avant-garde creations such as White Light, these medals highlight our equal respect for innovation as well as tradition.”
World’s only surviving gas-lit cinema, in Leeds, receives £2.4m Heritage Lottery Funding: A Leeds cinema, thought to be the world’s only surviving gas-lit picture house, has secured £2.4m of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Hyde Park Picture House opened just after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and is grade II listed. It played a key role in broadcasting news bulletins, war footage and morale-boosting patriotic dramas. The cinema still has nine working gaslights, which are used every day when the cinema is open. It has now secured £2.4m from the HLF to support a project that will open up archive material, which includes film programmes dating to the cinema’s opening and even weather reports for every day until 1958. Alongside the gas lighting, a number of original features will be restored during the project led by The Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, including the terrazzo foyer floors and decorative screen plasterwork. Facilities and access will be significantly improved and a new box office will bring queues out of the rain. The HLF, which has awarded a total of £55m to 12 projects, said the funding would ensure Hyde Park Picture House “remains as a working historic cinema, creating jobs, training and volunteering opportunities at the heart of Leeds for another century to come”.
Leeds-based QHotels misses out on £200m turnover target: Leeds-based hotel group QHotels has missed out on its £200m turnover target this year despite seeing a return on its investment in a major hotel portfolio. Non-annual accounting periods made it difficult to compare performances following its administration as part of a refinancing deal in 2013, but QHotels said growth in the spa market and a recovery in conferencing and events last year helped its continued improvement. For the 62-week period to 3 January 2016, the hotel group turned over £168.5m and made a £4.1m pre-tax loss. In the last accounting period covering the 33 weeks prior to 28 October 2014, the company made revenues of £69.6m and a loss of £3.3m. During the period, £12m was invested in its hotels, and a major £50m investment plan was announced last November. At the same time, QHotels managing director Michael Purtill said that with 12% growth in revenues, the company was aiming for £200m in turnover this year. Registered as Devonshire Point Group and trading as QHotels the company operates 21 hotels, which are reported on in its results. In November 2014, the company acquired six former De Vere Hotels and De Vere Luxury Lodges, and last year QHotels sold more than one million rooms and reported a turnover of £132m, excluding the six De Vere properties. In January 2013, QHotels Group was placed into administration as part of a refinancing deal.