Maxwell’s to open new £1m venue as confidence in London’s late-night economy rises: An independently owned London hospitality group that operates some of London’s longest-running bars, clubs and restaurants has announced plans to invest £1m in its late-night operations and expand its portfolio of venues across the capital following an increase in confidence in the future of London’s nightlife. Maxwell’s Restaurants Group, operator of venues such as Café de Paris, Roadhouse and Maxwell’s in Covent Garden, has revealed plans to invest £1m in its late-night venues in the next two years. The announcement follows the successful launch of the 24-hour night tube last Friday (19 August) and the news of the promised appointment of London’s first night mayor announced recently by The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. In October, the group will open Tropicana Beach Club, a new late-night bar and restaurant inspired by a “tropical paradise” that promises to transport guests to a “hedonistic, immersive and unforgettable” experience, more typical of a luxury Caribbean holiday resort. It occupies the site of the former Guanbara site in Parker Street, Covent Garden. The project is being led by Jim Robertson, group operations manager, Anthony Knight, group sales and marketing manager, and Jonathan Napier who joins as general manager from Inception Group’s Bunga Bunga in Battersea. “We’re keeping as much as possible under wraps for now as we want people to be wowed when they walk through the door for the first time, but imagine you are stepping off the plane into a tropical paradise. There will be palm trees, a lagoon, beach cabanas for hire, and lots of exciting and quirky cocktails, including a four-foot palm tree cocktail sharer, ” said Knight. The club is now recruiting more than 100 full and part-time positions, from bar staff to entertainers and sales and reservations assistants. Robertson added: “It has been a difficult time for nightclubs and late-night entertainment venues in recent years but we are confident in the future of London’s nightlife following the appointment of a London mayor who clearly understands and values the importance of a thriving late-night economy. Maxwell’s Restaurants Group has been around 45 years and ‘seen it all’ – from recessions to the boom years – and we’re more confident than ever that now is the right time to open a new venue.” Independently owned and managed by Brian Stein, the group employs more than 500 staff across 11 venues in London.
CDG to source 100% free-range eggs by 2025: Casual Dining Group (CDG), the leading UK restaurant group, has announced it is to source 100% free-range eggs by 2025 across all brands in a move that supports the company’s commitment to responsible sourcing – in what is believed to be an industry first for the casual dining sector. Currently, all whole eggs sourced by the company for its kitchens are free range, together with eggs used as ingredients for sauces and pasta. In partnership with Compassion in World Farming, CDG will transition the remainder of eggs used as ingredients to free-range systems, and will make every endeavour to achieve this well ahead of the 2025 target. Tim Doubleday, CDG chief financial officer, said: “We are pleased to announce this exciting partnership, which will see us move to entirely free-range egg sourcing, and we are grateful to Compassion in World Farming for their support and wise counsel as we journey through this transition. Although we already source many free-range egg products, this highlights our continuous commitment to source responsibly. We are committed to continuous improvement across every facet of our business, including product sourcing, as evidenced by this move to 100% free-range eggs.”
Newcastle-based Tyne Bank Brewery to move to larger premises next month following crowdfunding campaign: Newcastle-based Tyne Bank Brewery will move to its new site next month having raised more than £210,000 in a crowdfunding campaign for bigger premises. The company – founded by Julia Austin and with Pat Green, part of the founding management team of Black Sheep Brewery, as a director – raised £213,310 on Crowdcube for the project, exceeding its initial £150,000 target. Updating the 359 investors who supported the fund-raise, Austin said: “The crowdfunding raise finally hit our account at the end of June and since then we have been spending it wisely. Several large pieces of equipment are now in place and the toilets and offices are under construction. We will be moving the brewery over by 14 September and hope to have the taproom open at the start of October. Our bar/events manager will be joining us on 5 September and a launch event is planned for shareholders, hopefully around 8/9 October, we will confirm the date as we get a little closer.”
Freehold of London pub sold for estimated £2m: The freehold of a London pub has sold for an estimated £2m. Agent AG&G sold the former King Harold pub (newly named the Leyton Star) in Leyton, east London, for a net initial yield in the region of 5%. The entire property was let earlier this year by AG&G to multi-site operator Electric Star Pubs for a term of 20 years at an initial passing rent of £100,000 per annum. Following significant investment in the property, the pub opened for trade less than a month prior to the purchase by the new investor. Savills acted for the purchaser. A spokesman said: “The sale reflects recent trends witnessed in the market, with investors seeking to gain stronger returns from performing property assets than the reducing levels available from alternative investment classes in this current low-yielding, opportunity-starved environment.”
CAU to open restaurant in Leamington Spa next month: Argentinian-inspired restaurant brand CAU, which is owned by Gaucho, is to open a restaurant in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, next month. The brand is opening the venue in Satchwell Court at the Royal Priors Shopping Centre. The venue will be spread across one floor with a separate bar area, as well as outside seating. It will feature the brand’s signature corrugated booth seating and blue sky and grass imagery, as well as an open plan kitchen. Its seasonally changing menus will be served alongside the cuts of beef, cooked from a wood-fired grill, with a host of other options including individual small plates, sharing platters and an express menu. The bar will feature La Gringa on tap, an extensive list of CAU’s own-brand wines as well as a range of cocktails and Clericots – an Argentinian wine-based drink. CAU has 21 sites in the UK and has also agreed a deal to open a venue in Leeds.
JD Wetherspoon’s plans approved for former Garforth Liberal Club near Leeds: JD Wetherspoon has had its plans approved to convert the former Garforth Liberal Club, near Leeds, into a pub. The company originally submitted a planning application in May 2015 for work at the Main Street site in Garforth (population 15,394) but, despite a number of residents’ complaints, Leeds City Council has granted the scheme full planning permission. A council report on the decision stated: “The proposed pub is appropriately positioned within Garforth town centre and will bring a currently vacant property back into use and generate employment opportunities. Bearing in mind the site’s town centre location, the nature of the proposed use and the anticipated evening peaks in demand, the proposal is not considered to adversely impact on the highway network.” JD Wetherspoon’s planning application sought permission for internal and external alterations to create “storage, kitchen, customer and staff facilities” that would include a new beer garden, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.
Hellmann’s names the UK’s six best burgers: The finalists of the Britain’s Best Burger competition, sponsored by Hellmann’s, have been announced ahead of National Burger Day (25 August). Burger Brothers (Brighton), The Grazing Shed (Cardiff), Annie’s Burger Shack (Nottingham), Meat59 (Torquay), Jam Jar (Newcastle), and Burgers and Beers (Edinburgh) have been named as finalists, having had their burgers judged against strict criteria of originality, quality of ingredients, chef skill, range of choices, and customer feedback. Each finalist will receive PR support worth £2,500 to help make their burger brand famous, and go on to the final stage of the competition where one will be named Britain’s Best Burger. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, 30 August and will receive the grand prize – PR support worth £10,000. Gavin Lucas, the popular burger blogger known as Burgerac and owner of Burgerac’s Burgershack, led a panel of judges to decide the six finalists. He said: “We’ve had our work cut out as judges, with hundreds of burgers to check out from high-quality establishments across the country. It’s great to see operators doing the basics well and using the infinitely customisable nature of burgers to inject some real personality into their menu.”
Insomnia Coffee opens first service station site as part of Blakemore Retail partnership deal ahead of roll-out: Irish coffee company Insomnia has opened its first site as part of a new partnership deal with food and drink retail and distribution business Blakemore & Son, with more sites to follow in the “next year”. Insomnia has opened a coffee shop at Blakemore Retail’s new £3m Spar petrol forecourt store in Grimsby. The 5,000 square foot site also features Greggs and Subway counters. Insomnia chief executive Harry O’Kelly said: “The cosy seating and relaxed atmosphere of our stores will offer tired customers the chance to properly unwind and recharge with a coffee for their onward journey. Laceby is also our first store in the north east so we are very excited about this new territory.” Blakemore Retail store operations director Chris Bacon added: “The Laceby site is the first company-owned site (for the partnership), and we are looking forward to a further roll-out over the next year.” Insomnia opened its first store in Galway in 1997 and now operates more than 90 company-owned stores in Ireland as well as franchised outlets and partnerships. Its other UK sites are in Bradford, Formby, Hope Valley in Derbyshire, Market Harborough, and Rugby. Family-owned Blakemore, based in Willenhall, West Midlands, employs more than 7,800 staff and has a turnover of circa £1.3bn.
Orange Tree Group to open Derby city centre bar next month, seventh site: Orange Tree Group, the East Midlands-based independent pub company, will open its seventh site next month, in Derby city centre. The Orange Tree will open in George Street at a former Bar Five site on Friday, 23 September. The venue will be split over two floors, opening during the evenings with a heavy focus on cocktails to go alongside fine wines from Leicestershire-based Matt Francis, premium spirits, local craft beer and an extensive gin selection. Downstairs, booth seating and snug areas will give the bar a feeling of “stepping back in time to a low-lit private member’s club”. The 100-capacity upstairs bar will also be available for hire. Orange Tree Group founders Ben Hings and Gareth Smith opened their first bar in 1997 in Leicester. The group now operates three sites in the city, plus two in Loughborough and one in Nottingham. Smith said: “We have been looking for a new bar to add to the group for over a year and had our eyes on Derby. We were viewing somewhere else in the city when we came across this place and fell in love with the building. It’s going to be a really great addition to our business.”
Ed’s Easy Diner partners with New York Bakery to roll-out ‘Bagel Brekki’ nationwide: Ed’s Easy Diner has partnered with New York Bakery Company to roll-out the “Bagel Brekki” nationwide. The move comes following a trial at six of Ed’s American-style diners in which the meal became one of its customers’ most popular breakfast menu options. Bagel Brekki consists of layers of crispy back bacon, chipolata sausages and a griddled egg sandwiched between a 115g New York-style bagel. Ed’s Easy Diner chief executive Andrew Guy said: “The Bagel Brekki has been a great addition to our breakfast menu and following the trial we are confident it will go down well in our diners across the UK. Bagels are an American staple, making our partnership with the New York Bakery Company a natural match – we both want to bring a taste of the States to the UK!” New York Bakery Company marketing manager Amy Page added: “Our ‘Plain New York Style Bagel’ is a great alternative to bread and growing in popularity as a sandwich carrier. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for us to develop new menu options with Ed’s in the future.”
Sugar Hut to start expansion with £1.5m Liverpool launch next month: The team behind Sugar Hut, the Brentwood bar made famous by reality television show The Only Way Is Essex, will start expansion of the concept next month by opening a second site, this time in Liverpool. Sugar Hut Group has invested £1.5m to fit-out the new venue at a three-storey, 12,000 square foot property in Victoria Street, which previously housed the Living Room and Mosquito, both operated by Living Ventures. Sugar Hut Group co-owner Terry Pullen told BDaily: “We are delighted to finally announce our expansion into the north west. Liverpool is a vibrant city and we will deliver a mix of quality food served in a luxury environment with classic cocktails, aspirational entertainment and excellent music.” Paul Davies, of Manchester-based law firm Stephensons Solicitors, which completed on Sugar Hut’s acquisition of the property, added: “The north west is an attractive business proposition to a number of high-profile brands and we expect to see more of this type of activity.” Sugar Hut said it expected the Liverpool launch to be followed by further openings in Newcastle and Cardiff Bay.
Pint Shop to open second site in mid-October: Pint Shop, the award-winning Cambridge beer house, will open its second site in Oxford in mid-September. Extensive work is taking place at the George Street site, which dates to the 1930s and was formerly a building society. The new decor has been designed with this in mind, anchoring it in the 1930s but with modern touches. The laid-back aesthetic will have an emphasis on heritage textures, with lots of wood and tiling throughout. The food at the Oxford site will be an extension of the Pint Shop offer – simple, seasonal British dishes, with an emphasis on meat and local ingredients. The bar snack offering will be particularly enhanced, with planned dishes including a slicing pie, trays of roasted vegetables, and hot chipped potatoes with curry sauce poured over them from a flask. Pint Shop is also developing a stout-based beer bread to be sold at the bar. In addition, Pint Shop has brewed a beer – “Hoog and Doog” (High and Dry) – with Netherlands-based De Molen brewery to celebrate the Oxford opening. It is a pale ale, “dry hopped” with grapefruit and will be ready to serve at the grand opening. Pint Shop co-owner Rich Holmers said: “We are really looking forward to getting the doors open at the Oxford site. We have been working on it since March and can’t wait for our customers to see it. It is an exciting time for Pint Shop, our team have put a lot of work into the site and we hope our new customers love the look and feel of the place.” The Oxford opening will create 60 jobs in the local area. In addition, Pint Shop’s Cambridge senior sous chef, Nolen Page, has been promoted to head chef at the Oxford site.
Fazenda team to launch Brazilian rodizio concept Bossa in Leeds next month: The team behind Fazenda, which operates rodizio restaurants in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, will launch new Brazilian concept Bossa in Leeds city centre next month. The 110-cover restaurant in Cloth Hall Street will open at a former Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi site on Monday, 19 September. Bossa is Brazilian slang for “doing something with particular charm, natural flair or innate ability” and the restaurant will offer its own take on the rodizio style, offering seven cuts of grilled meat. The menu will include picanha (cap of rump), lamb, chicken thighs and sausages, with a different meat special offered every week. A selection of sides, cooked in a clay oven, and salads will also be available. Group executive head chef Francisco Martinez told BDaily: “Simplicity can go a long way, but when you add the Bossa style to simple things you give them passion, and that is what we think people will feel about our food.” Fazenda co-founder Robert Melman added: “Leeds is growing as a food and drink destination and we are confident Bossa is the right offer for casual diners in the city centre looking for a high-quality, great-value, eating out experience.”
Lincolnshire-based fish and chip shop concept to start expansion with second site: Lincolnshire-based fish and chip shop concept Hunters is to start expansion by opening its second site, in Lincoln. The company is opening the outlet in High Street at the former Yo Yo noodle bar site. The site, which follows on from the company’s venue in Louth, is being refurbished ahead of its launch in the autumn and will feature a 25-cover restaurant as well as a takeaway. The Lincoln Hunters will serve locally sourced food, including line-caught fish delivered daily from Grimsby docks and Lincolnshire-grown Maris Piper potatoes. Manager Mark Hinkins told the Lincolnite: “The new branch in Lincoln provides different challenges. Its location in the heart of Lincoln is wonderful but there’s a lot of competition from other food outlets, many of them well-known restaurant brands. The food will be created using our unique recipes and the design will be based around upcycled furniture. It’s a perfect fit and makes our restaurant stand out from a lot of high street brands that look exactly the same, whichever branch you go into.”
New Portuguese and Brazilian cafe restaurant concept to launch in Oxford: A new Portuguese and Brazilian cafe restaurant concept is set to open in Oxford. Vera Franca has applied to the city council for a premises licence to launch the concept in the Atkyns Road shopping parade on the former site of the Evolution Reptiles pet shop, reports the Oxford Mail. In the application, Franca said: “The premises will be used as a small Portuguese cafe/restaurant providing Portuguese and Brazilian food and drink. We will provide a seating area at the front of the premises where the bar will be located and also a small seating area at the rear of the premises.” If approved, the venue would open from 8am to 10pm, Mondays to Thursdays, and from 8am to midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Brighton restaurant Moshimo submits plans for £4m ‘lantern in the sky’ extension: Japanese restaurant Moshimo, which is next door to Brighton Town Hall in Bartholomew Square, has submitted plans for a £4m extension to create a “lantern in the sky”. Owners Karl Jones and Nicholas Rohl have submitted plans for a five-storey, 130-cover restaurant that could double up as a skyline wedding venue. The structure would be built in Littlehampton and brought into place by a £1m crane in a bid to minimise disruption. Jones said the unusual construction would mean the square would not be covered in a “forest of scaffolding”, while Moshimo could not afford to close for a long period. He said it would take three days to install the three sections in a maximum five-day window because of high costs hiring the crane. Jones told The Argus: “It’s going to be an amazing space that is going to be very versatile rather than something where we will need to churn out hundreds of covers every day. People like to talk about a landmark building – and it certainly will be that.”
Pizza and coffee concept Enzo eyes expansion with second site, in Manchester: Nantwich-based pizza and coffee concept Enzo is planning expansion with a second site, this time in Manchester. The independent company has applied for a licence at a site in Fountain Street in the city centre. As well as pizza, the restaurant prides itself on British home-baked cakes and Australian-style coffee. Enzo owners James Skade and Carrie Slater said the concept is about “creating a menu influenced by Italian cuisine and inspired by the Australian coffee scene”, while “still paying homage to Britain by creating wonderfully delicious hand-made cakes”. The company makes its pizza dough fresh every day and its own pasta and sauces on-site. According to the application, the restaurant would open Monday to Friday, from 7am until midnight.
Fuller’s updates international beer finder: London brewer and premium pub operator Fuller’s has updated its online beerfinder for the US. The beerfinder lets customers know where they can purchase their favourite Fuller’s beers internationally. Data for the US is now automatically updated, so consumers in the country can find out which bars stock Fuller’s products. The online beerfinder works across the globe, so you can also get an idea of which countries sell Fuller’s beers. The page can be found by clicking here. Michael Campbell-Lamerton, head of international brands, said: “This is brilliant news for our customers in the US as well as those visiting who wish to enjoy our beer when travelling. Hopefully this will lead to other countries’ data being as up to date as that of the US. This really does demonstrate how well-travelled our beers are, some go a very long way from their home in Chiswick.”
New vegetarian Indian restaurant concept to launch in Cardiff: A grocery store owner is set to launch a vegetarian Indian restaurant concept in Cardiff this autumn. Mangla Dodiya will open Mangla’s Spice of Life in Cowbridge Road East in the Canton area of the city. The idea began after the homemade Gujarati recipes she sells from her nearby grocery store proved highly popular. She told Wales Online: “My customers have encouraged me. I was experimenting and getting customers to try my food and they have been encouraging me to open a place selling my vegetarian food. I want to introduce people to healthy, vegetarian food. I’m a vegetarian and always have been.”
New Greek restaurant concept Odyssey to launch in Chesterfield: New Greek restaurant concept Odyssey will launch in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, next month. The new venue will open at the former Queens Head pub in Knifesmithsgate on Tuesday, 20 September, combining traditional English architecture with Greek hospitality, culture, taste and cuisine. Konstantinos Diamantidis, part of the management team at the Greek family-owned business, said he hoped the restaurant would fill a gap in the market. Aptly named “Odyssey”, he said the restaurant promised a journey into Greek flavours and traditions. Diamantidis told the Chesterfield News: “Our intention is to make you feel you are somehow back in Greece or, if you have never been, maybe to give you a taste of your next holiday. My grandmother used to say there is nothing better than homemade food and taught us to eat and cook only the best. Now, years later, we as a family will try to give you a taste of what Greek families believe good-quality Greek food tastes like.”