Comptoir Libanais to open Soho restaurant on Tuesday: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, is set to open its 12th site, this time in Soho on Tuesday (20th September). The 398 square metre, 94-cover site in Poland Street will offer 50% off food until Sunday, with a variety of dishes to eat in or take away. Breakfast offerings will include pastries, granola and yogurt, egg dishes, and the signature Comptoir Full Breakfast, while lunch dishes will feature sharing hot and cold mezze, grilled halloumi and meat, and a selection of tagines. Drinks will range from homemade lemonades and freshly squeezed juices to cocktails and Lebanese wine and beer. The venue will also feature the Comptoir Libanais Souk Shop, selling imported gifts, hand-crafted accessories, spices and sweets. The Soho opening is the first of three Comptoir Libanais restaurants set to launch in London during the next few months. In October, the group’s first in-store restaurant will open in John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store. In November, the Lebanese canteen will head west with a new restaurant in Gloucester Road, Kensington. Outside the capital, the brand’s first branches in the south west will open in Exeter this month and Bath in October, extending the company’s UK footprint. There will be a third regional opening in Leeds in November.
M&B reopens converted Harvester site on outskirts of Brighton as Miller & Carter steakhouse: Mitchells & Butlers has reopened its former Harvester pub the Black Lion in Patcham, on the outskirts of Brighton, as a Miller & Carter steakhouse. The site has been transformed as part of Mitchells & Butlers’ review of its estate. John Crayford, regional business manager at Miller & Carter, said: “Bringing a new Miller & Carter to Brighton is a fantastic opportunity for the brand and we look forward to providing the best steaks and service that Miller & Carter is renowned for across the UK.” Miller & Carter has more than 40 steakhouses in the UK and serves 12 cuts of Red Tractor Farm Assured meat, including rib-eye, fillet and chateaubriand.
Stew & Oyster gets go-ahead for Otley site: Leeds bar group Stew & Oyster has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Otley, West Yorkshire. The company has been given permission by Leeds City Council to convert the grade II-listed Old Grammar School building in Manor Square. Stew & Oyster will redevelop the ground and first floor of the building from professional offices and an art gallery into a restaurant and wine bar, reports Insider Media. Stew & Oyster operates from venues in central Leeds, Oakwood and Boston Spa, serving real ale alongside a selection of the food it is named after. The group opened its first venue, off The Calls, in 2009 with further sites opening in 2012 and 2014. The business is currently seeking permission for a floating beer garden to the rear of its Calls Landing operation.
Nando’s, Five Guys, Zizzi and Hollywood Bowl sign up for £70m Huddersfield leisure scheme: Nando’s, better burger brand Five Guys, Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi and Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator, have signed to open at a £70m complex in Huddersfield. Hotel chain Raddison has already been named as occupant of a £13m, four-star business class hotel also planned for HD One, which will occupy a 20-acre site alongside Huddersfield Football Club’s John Smith’s Stadium. Gareth Davies, managing director of Kirklees Stadium Development, the company behind HD One, said the development – which will also include a ski slope and shops – was already 75% pre-let with about 20 tenants close to committing to the site. He said the aim was to complete funding for the development by the end of this year and to start the two-year construction in 2017. HD One would create 500 permanent jobs with about 700 jobs in the construction phase, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports. When complete, the 240,000 square foot scheme would have the potential to generate visitor numbers of about four million, compared with 1.5 million currently for the stadium complex, which also includes the Odeon cinema, Kirklees Active Leisure’s health and fitness club, Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and the Rope Walk pub.
Living Ventures to open first ‘suburban’ Alchemist site in November, in Alderley Edge: Living Ventures will open its first branch of The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant at a “suburban” site – in the village of Alderley Edge, Cheshire, in November. The company is transforming its Blackhouse-branded The Grill On The Edge in London Road into the new venue, creating 40 jobs. The two-storey site, which will have a central island bar on the ground floor, will have a capacity of 150, including a 70-seat restaurant within the venue’s conservatory. Simon Potts, managing director of the Alchemist, told The Business Desk: “We are thrilled to be bringing The Alchemist to Alderley Edge. Some residents will already be aware of the brand from our Manchester sites and we’ve had a huge amount of enquiry and enthusiasm during development. We believe it will be a welcome addition to the bustling social scene in the village and we can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the local community.” Living Ventures launched the Alchemist in Manchester’s Spinningfields more than five years ago. The standalone business under Living Ventures’ umbrella operates seven UK sites – two in Manchester, two in Leeds and one in London, Liverpool and Birmingham. A further site at MediaCityUK is scheduled for 2017 among several other openings around the country. The company has projected turnover of £21m for this financial year and employs more than 350 people.
Gourmet healthy tea subscription service launches crowdfunding campaign: Gourmet healthy tea subscription service Teatime, which supplies a number of Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels, has launched a fund-rise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company, founded by Ruby Chan, is offering a 10% equity stake in return for the £40,000 investment. The pitch states: “Our carefully crafted blends are created and produced in the UK then delivered in handy artisan packs for instant health, whether at work or home, thereby curbing the need to reach for caffeine through the day. The idea is that those with busy lifestyles can reach into their bag/drawer/cupboard for an instant pick-me-up the natural way. Although the business began on a subscription model basis, we soon found we fit quite well into the premium health and wellbeing market given the high-quality nature of our product and the increasing trend and awareness towards ‘free-from’ living. As such, we found ourselves to be a good match, not only for obvious partners such as premium spas and health clubs but top tier hotels and Michelin-star restaurants also, who were looking for something premium, unique and truly all-natural. We are currently trading with some regular clients and subscribers so we intend to continue to dominate the London high-end market by selecting more key brands to partner with in order to increase awareness and our subscriber base. We are looking for funds to cover our overheads (employee and office costs), purchase stock and cover costs for our new brand relaunch (marketing, PR activities, new packaging and collateral).”
Peckham’s plans restaurant, bar and deli in Helensburgh: Scottish grocery chain Peckham’s has submitted plans for a restaurant, bar, licensed delicatessen and function suites at a listed building in Helensburgh. The application for the site in Sinclair Street is seeking to add external seating areas to the front and rear. The premises are currently under offer after being advertised for sale last year by Argyll and Bute Council, seeking offers of more than £220,000. Cllr Aileen Morton, whose policy brief includes economic development and strategic tourism, told the Helensburgh Advertiser: “The scale of development is a vote of confidence in Helensburgh’s growing reputation as a destination for dining and shopping. It would be great to see this kind of ambitious proposal added to the great range of restaurants and shops already available.” Peckham’s was founded in 1982 and operates two sites in Glasgow.
Greggs opens fourth Belfast site as part of Northern Ireland expansion drive: Greggs has opened its fourth site in Belfast as part of its expansion drive in Northern Ireland. The company has opened the store in Castle Lane, creating 18 jobs. Greggs first entered the Northern Ireland market in 2015, with a franchised shop at the M2 Applegreen station. This was followed by a further two franchised shop openings in partnership with Applegreen on the A26 outside Ballymena and on the M1 near Lisburn. It opened its first company-managed store in Belfast, at Boucher Retail Park, in March this year, followed by one in the city centre in Royal Avenue in May and then Dargan Road in the north of the city. Last year the company revealed it was eyeing 50 locations across Northern Ireland, with about ten in Belfast. Manager of the Castle Lane store Richard Stewart told ITV News: “The store is in an ideal location for shoppers and city centre workers and we’re really looking forward to bringing them a taste of Greggs – from our much-loved savouries to our ‘Balanced Choice’ range and our freshly ground coffee – there is something for everyone!”
C.Gars launches Turmeaus cigar sampling and fine whisky lounge in Liverpool: London-based cigar retailer C.Gars, which operates the Turmeaus brand and seven specialist shops in the UK, has opened a cigar sampling and whisky lounge in Liverpool city centre. Customers are allowed to sample cigars and pipes at the venue in Old Hall Street because their specialist nature means they are not covered by the smoking ban. The new venue features a whisky bar, two cigar-sampling lounges, and an accessories room. It opens daily and also offers food and live music. C.Gars managing director Mitchell Orchant said: “Turmeaus Cigars and Whisky is the only place in northern Britain where customers can legally enjoy sampling a fine cigar indoors and wash it down at a fully licensed bar offering premium whisky by the dram.” Orchant said the second phase of the development would start by the end of September to provide an additional cigar shop and sampling lounge that would open until 11pm, as well as a whisky and cocktail lounge, tapas restaurant, and the largest whisky bar in north England. C.Gars also operates Turmeaus stores in London, Chester, Knutsford and Norfolk. The Knutsford and Chester sites are both fully licensed.
Former TGI Friday’s and The Botanist employee takes on first pub: Former TGI Friday’s and The Botanist employee Julian Rose-Gibbs has taken on his first pub. Rose-Gibbs, who has also worked for a number of other brands, including Bitters ‘n’ Twisted, has bought the lease of The Anchor pub in the Digbeth area of Birmingham from Gerry Keane. He plans to introduce a food concept and make only minor changes to the grade II-listed building, including renovating the cellar. He told the Birmingham Mail: “A traditional pub is a challenge I haven’t done yet. This place has won awards for the beer. It’s my next challenge but still within the remit of what I know. I thought we’d take a traditional boozer, keep some of it as traditional as possible, get the real ales back up to scratch, and add a bit of craft beer and gin along with whisky. We’ll also slowly but surely put a food concept in. We want to keep the traditional side of it but also bring it up to the modern drinking culture –but still with a serious nod to its heritage.”
BaxterStorey welcomes record number of graduates: Contract catering company BaxterStorey has welcomed a record number of graduates on to its Momentum Graduate Programme. Now in its sixth year, 23 recruits took part in an introductory ceremony at the Blue Fin Building in London. The programme received more than 350 applications this year and has had a 100% graduate retention rate during the past two years. Graduates gain work experience in the kitchen, front of house and in hospitality and support services. They then move on to mobilisations, location projects and operations. BaxterStorey head of skills and development Graham Eveleigh said: “The increasing popularity of our Momentum Graduate Programme is testament to the vast range of opportunities our young recruits are offered. It is training initiatives such as this that continue to help us attract and retain a motivated and committed workforce.”
Tudor-style restaurant in Kent on market for £595,000: Agent Christie & Co has brought The Barn – an oak-beamed, Tudor-style restaurant in Kent – to market for £595,000. The 36-cover venue in Lower Rainham has a bar on a mezzanine floor with seating for another 24 people, used for private dining. The restaurant also has views of the River Medway from its owners’ accommodation. James Hughes, of Christie & Co’s Maidstone office, described the Kent market as “buoyant”. He added: “The Barn Restaurant is an attractive property and could not be better located for someone looking to run a business in a tranquil setting beside the river. The building possesses a lot of character and history and would be ideal for a range of different purchasers, including first-time buyers as well as experienced operators. The restaurant currently attracts repeat custom from a wide area alongside a loyal local following. However, there is plenty of room for a new owner to further develop the business to take it to the next level.”
Italian food truck operator opens West Sussex restaurant: Piero Caramella, who operates a food truck in East Grinstead selling Italian food, has opened a restaurant in the West Sussex town. Spizzichi & Bocconi, which is Italian for bites and nibbles, has opened in Railway Approach. Caramella has owned Italian restaurants in Cardiff, London and the US, while his sons Stefano and Giampiero operate restaurants in Cardiff. He told the East Grinstead Courier: “We do Italian street food like pizza, calzone, arancini (stuffed rice balls coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried). It’s all fresh – pasta, salad, mozzarella, tomatoes, everything. We want to concentrate on making sure it’s healthy Mediterranean food. In a restaurant you normally pay more but here you get a top-quality Italian meal, cooked right there and then for half the price.”