Thai restaurant chain Chilli Banana to open Didsbury venue, fifth north west site: Thai restaurant chain Chilli Banana will open a new venue in Didsbury this autumn, its fifth site in the north west. The new 70-cover restaurant will launch in Lapwing Lane in October at the site of former newsagents Inman’s, which closed last summer after 85 years of trading. Chilli Banana specialises in Thai street food, with dishes such as Pad Thai, Kow Soi, and Kow Man Gai, which recreate the “feel and taste of Bangkok’s unique street atmosphere”. It will also offer a takeaway service. Chilli Banana owner Stephen Wigfield told the Manchester Evening News: “We’ve looked at Didsbury for many years and it has never quite worked out but I particularly like this location. We hope it will be more of a destination restaurant and people will travel from all over to come here. It’s a lovely Victorian parade of shops and we’re really glad to be a part of that. Our ethos is to be part of the community and we’ve had some very good feedback from residents and other businesses.” Chilli Banana’s other sites are in Liverpool, Macclesfield, Wilmslow, and Bramhall in Manchester.


Churchill’s Fish & Chips opens Cambridge restaurant, sixth site in south of England: Fishnchickn franchise concept Churchill’s Fish & Chips has opened its sixth site in the south of England, this time in Cambridge. The venue in New Bar Hill features a sit-down restaurant as well as a takeaway service that also operates an online click and collect service. A Fishnchickn spokesman said: “We have listened to feedback and rebranded our Fishnchickn store to Churchill’s to offer a new customer experience. We have introduced free customer Wi-Fi as well as launching our pre-order and collect app. We have also introduced a new menu where ethical products and quality are at the heart of our sourcing policy to ensure we give you the best fish and chips possible.” Fishnchickn was founded in 1923 and its Churchill’s concept offers traditional fish and chips, using sustainably sourced cod and thick-cut chips, alongside freshly prepared, barn-reared chickens wrapped in secret-recipe coatings spit roasted or cooked in front of customers. It operates 35 stores across the south of England, while Churchill’s other sites are in Chelmsford, Fleet, Peterborough, Romford and Stansted.


Coffee Republic opens 34th UK franchise site, in Muswell Hill Broadway: Coffee Republic has opened its 34th UK franchise site, in Muswell Hill Broadway, north London. The new 100 square metre outlet, which has 32 covers, represents the latest expansion for the company and is in line with its 20 new planned franchise openings per year. Coffee Republic is in its biggest period of growth since new owners took over in 2009. The franchise was relaunched in 2013 and has grown steadily from the 16 UK sites operating then. Further new franchise openings are already planned for 2016 – in Blackfriars station, Colchester, Croydon, Dalston, Stourport, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Isle of Man.


Costa Coffee trials in-store recycling systems in bid to ‘lead industry’ in fight against paper cup waste: Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee is trialling in-store recycling systems at 50 of its UK stores as it ramps up plans to “lead the industry” in the fight against coffee cup waste. It will also change the recycling symbol on all its paper cups. Costa energy and environment manager Ollie Rosevear told the Mobius Loop symbol would be replaced by the iconic “Tidy Man” logo to encourage more consumers to responsibly dispose of their cups. Costa joins Starbucks and Caffe Nero in excluding the recycling symbol from its cups as the industry comes to terms with the rising number of single-use cups being discarded rather than recycled – 5,000 coffee cups are thrown away every minute in the UK but less than 1% of those are recycled. Rosevear said: “We’ve been doing some tests at 50 sites in Manchester and London. With in-store recycling, we’re actually recovering cups directly from the store, backhauling them and then they are recycled by our partner Veolia, so we have full responsibility for the waste we have direct control over.” Costa has partnered with Keep Britain Tidy to offer a money-off incentive to consumers who bring a reusable cup into stores, while Rosevear revealed Costa had invested a “significant amount of money” into new research with Sheffield University on what happens to its paper cups once they are taken away by consumers. Propel recently reported Starbucks would trial the Frugalpac cup, a British-made recyclable coffee cup developed by entrepreneur Martin Myerscough.


Sourdough concept Bertha’s Pizza to launch permanent site in Bristol: Sourdough concept Bertha’s Pizza, which has operated at events across the UK from the back of a Land Rover Defender, is set to launch a permanent site in Bristol. The pizzeria will open in early August at The Old Gaol Stables in the Wapping Wharf development. Centrepiece to the new venue will be a three-tonne, hand-built Neapolitan oven, which 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 will open from Wednesday to Sunday between 5pm and 10pm. Kate Faragher, Bertha’s co-founder, said: “Bertha’s will be a friendly, owner-run, neighbourhood restaurant serving simple, affordable food which brings a smile to your face. We will continue to 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.


Chef and entrepreneur opens York city centre restaurant: Chef and entrepreneur Neil Bentinck has opened Skosh, a restaurant in York city centre offering a “grazing-style menu of contemporary and internationally influenced dishes” served from an open kitchen. Bentinck, formerly a chef at Michelin-starred The Pipe and Glass Inn in South Dalton, near Beverley, said Skosh – Japanese for a “small amount” – would be a “natural culmination of family influences, worldwide travels and professional growth”. The restaurant in Micklegate serves snacks, small plates and sharing platters, alongside signature dishes such as skosh fried chicken with sorrel emulsion and fermented vegetable slaw, Thai-style beef cheek with pineapple, salted duck egg and coconut, and scallop ceviche with charred watermelon, radish and curry. Bentinck told BDaily: “We aim to bring a contemporary dining experience that reflects many international influences, with a British twist.”


New German sports bar concept set to open in Liverpool: A new German sports bar concept is set to open in Liverpool. The Kaiserkeller is launching at The Rubber Soul Complex in Mathew Street on Saturday, 27 August, creating 20 jobs. It plans to screen all top sporting events live and will also feature pool and beer pong tables. Regular entertainment will also be provided in the form of live oompah bands to create a complete German experience. In addition to a variety of German beers, food platters including bratwurst, pretzels and other themed foods will be available. The Kaiserkeller is the latest addition to the growing Rubber Soul complex, which already includes Route 66, Heaven, Eric’s and the original Rubber Soul. Jimmy Boland, general manager of Rubber Soul Complex, told The Guide Liverpool: “With The Kaiserkeller we plan to give Liverpool an authentic German experience. Based underneath the original Rubber Soul, everything from the decor to the food will make you feel as though you have stepped under the city to find your own little slice of Germany. Our focus will be on creating a great atmosphere with hostesses, live oompah bands and a fantastic selection of great German beers. We look forward to welcoming sports fans, party goers and, of course, the steady stream of tourists that frequent Liverpool’s iconic Mathew Street.”


Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers extends £150,000 crowdfunding campaign: Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers has extended its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube due to ongoing conversations with investors. The company, founded by the seven McAvoy brothers, is offering a 16.84% equity stake in return for the investment as it looks to increase capacity and fit out its first bar. So far, 183 investors have pledged £82,570 with 13 days remaining. Seven Bro7thers distributes its beers to pubs and restaurants across the UK and is in advanced discussions to stock its brands in Tesco stores. The company said: “Due to ongoing conversations with investors, Seven Bro7hers has been granted an extension until 11.59pm on Saturday, 13 August.” The pitch states: “Since we launched in 2014 we have grown steadily and need to update the brewery to keep up with the demand for our beer and also to fuel our ambition. We are seeking £150,000 to increase capacity, with the procurement of five additional fermenting vessels to keep up with demand, procure canning and bottling lines, and fit out our first craft beer bar in Manchester.”


Pieminister launches brunch menu at Bristol restaurants: Pie specialist Pieminister has launched a brunch menu at its Stokes Croft and Broad Quay restaurants in Bristol. Exclusive to the brand’s home city, the menu is served every weekend from 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays, and 10am to 12.30pm on Sundays. It features a range of different options, including a brunch pie. The Banger consists of free-range British pork sausage, smoked bacon, roast plum tomatoes and a crisp rӧsti potato top. It’s served on a bed of bubble and squeak and topped with a free-range poached egg, with a side of homemade smoky baked beans, reports Bristol Bites. There are also two gluten-free options, as well as sourdough toast with different toppings. Lighter dishes are also available in the form of overnight oats and granola.


Wildwood opens Crawley site: Tasty brand Wildwood has opened a restaurant in Crawley – its second West Sussex site. The company has transformed the former A Chef Buffet site in High Street after it applied for listed building consent to refurbish part of The George Hotel into a restaurant and also create a deli area that sells fresh produce inside the main entrance, reports the Crawley News. Wildwood already has delis at several of its sites, offering freshly baked pastries and breads, plus artisan products such as olive oil, as well as salads and sandwiches. Wildwood operates more than 30 sites in the UK. Its other West Sussex restaurant is in Chichester.



Marco Pierre White opens 15th Steakhouse Bar & Grill, in Lincoln: Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White has opened his 15th Steakhouse Bar & Grill, this time on Lincoln’s waterfront at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Lincoln is the fourth DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel to partner with Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, which is operated under franchise by Black and White Hospitality. The restaurant is on the fifth floor of the hotel. Hilton general manager Richard Metcalfe told the Lincolnshire Echo: “When we spoke to our guests there was a theme that people wanted a really good quality steakhouse at a location that’s in the centre. When you look at which brand will enable us to deliver the best quality steak house, there was only ever one choice – and that was Marco Pierre White.”


Alderley Edge-based cafe concept set to start expansion after acquiring second site, in Hale: Alderley Edge-based cafe concept Village Cafe is set to start expansion after acquiring its second site, in Hale. Village Cafe has revealed it will open in Ashley Road on the site of Cafe Gourmand, the French-inspired cafe patisserie that closed last week. It posted on its Twitter account: “We will be opening a new cafe in Hale!” Village Cafe, which serves breakfasts, lunches, hot and cold drinks, and snacks, launched its first site in London Road, Alderley Edge, in 2013.


Plans for pizza cafe just yards from new Pizza Hut delivery store in Irvine get go-ahead: Plans for a pizza cafe in Irvine – only yards from a Pizza Hut Delivery site that opened in the Scottish town last month – have been given the go-ahead. Bennett Developments and Consultants had its application to convert the office formerly occupied by ex-MSP Margaret McDougall in Eglinton Street approved by North Ayrshire Council. The site is only yards from the new Pizza Hut Delivery site in Quarry Road, reports the Irvine Times. The cafe will focus solely on selling pizza but will offer cafe-style seating as well as a takeaway service. The planning statement said: “The premises, which have been vacant for a number of months, occupy a central location in the street and the possibility of them remaining empty would have had a potentially detrimental impact on the area. The proposed use will introduce a concept, now becoming more common in larger towns, namely a pizza cafe where the menu is restricted to pizza albeit with an astounding arrange of toppings and the opportunity to enjoy these straight from the oven to the table in the intimate surroundings of a cafe-style environment.”


Custodian REIT sells Premier Inn in Dudley for £4.45m: A Premier Inn in Dudley has been sold for £4.45m. It was let to Whitbread on a lease expiring in 2038. The 22,317 square foot business in Castlegate Business and Leisure Park was sold by Leicestershire-based property investment company Custodian REIT to an unnamed buyer. The property was part of Custodian’s first portfolio acquired on its admission to the London Stock Exchange in 2014 and the sale was £340,000 ahead of a valuation conducted in March, Insider Media reports. However, Custodian stressed the sale was not a reaction to pressure from investors. Richard Shepherd-Cross, managing director of the company’s external fund manager Custodian Capital, said: “Contrary to many open-ended property funds, a number of which have halted redemptions to allow them time to sell properties to meet their redemption obligations, this sale is part of our normal asset management. We are delighted to have crystallised an 8.3% valuation gain, capitalising on market demand for long-term secure income and securing a price reflecting a net initial yield of 5%. We expect to redeploy the sale proceeds on our committed pipeline, providing better long-term growth potential and a higher running yield to enhance shareholder returns.”


Chipotle to launch first better burger site in the autumn: Chipotle, still struggling to win back customers after a series of food scares, plans to open its first better burger restaurant this year. The company will open a Tasty Made location this autumn in Lancaster, Ohio, which is south east of Columbus. The menu will be limited to burgers, fries and milkshakes, it said. Joint chief executive Steve Ells said early fast food burger chains had “focused menus,” and Chipotle wanted to create a restaurant around that model. The remark may have been aimed at McDonald’s, which has seen its menu mushroom over the years. Before its recent setback, Chipotle had found enormous success in positioning itself as an alternative to traditional fast food chains. That spawned numerous other “fast-casual” concepts that tout better ingredients, or a format where people can walk down a line and pick the ingredients that go into their order. Chipotle already has an Asian food concept called ShopHouse, which lists 15 locations, and a pizza concept called Pizzeria Locale, which lists five locations. The company had signaled its intent to move into hamburgers, filing a trademark application for “Better Burger” earlier this year and noting its belief that the “Chipotle model” could be applied to a variety of foods. An address linked with Chipotle was on a trademark application for “TastyMade,” the website Eater reported earlier this month.


Carluccio’s opens site in £3m Chelmsford dining quarter: Carluccio’s has opened a restaurant in Chelmsford, Essex. The company has launched the outlet in the new £3m dining quarter at the High Chelmer shopping centre. The restaurant has space for 132 diners and also features an outside terrace. As well as the dining area, there is a deli, offering ciabatta sandwiches, salads, tarts and cakes, and a food shop for customers to buy food to cook at home. The new dining quarter is also home to French brasserie Cote, which opened last week, while Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay and steak and lobster restaurant Bourgee will complete the line-up. Last month, Propel reported restaurant brands have been flocking to Chelmsford, with 20 due to open within a year, including Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Loungers brand Cosy Club.



New chicken-only restaurant concept opens in King’s Lynn, owner looks to build chain: A new independent restaurant concept offering only chicken has opened in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, with its owner aiming to build a chain. Adam Cook has launched Chicken Coop in Tower Street where the chicken, which comes from a local supplier, is prepared on site and slow-roasted for two hours on a rotisserie. Cook told the Eastern Daily Press: “We’ve kept the menu simple but a lot of effort goes into the food we serve. We also like this concept of the enjoyment that goes into sharing a roasted chicken, and that’s what we try to celebrate as part of the restaurant experience. Our hope is to make this restaurant work and replicate the model elsewhere to build a chain.”