Gourmet Burger Kitchen secures Maidstone site: Gourmet Burger Kitchen has secured a site in Maidstone, Kent. The company will open a restaurant at the Lockmeadow leisure complex after agreeing a deal with owner Kames Capital, which was represented by agent Savills. Gourmet Burger Kitchen has signed a 25-year lease for a 3,145 square foot (292 square metre) unit at the scheme, which has undergone a multimillion-pound refurbishment and improvement works since it was acquired by Kames in December 2015. Anchored by Odeon, Hollywood Bowl and trampoline park operator Gravity, Lockmeadow is also occupied by David Lloyd, The Restaurant Group brand Frankie & Benny’s, Greene-King-owned The Feathers, and Burger King. Carlene Hughes, associate director in the leisure team at Savills, said: “Lockmeadow has an established role as Maidstone’s premier leisure destination and we are pleased to have secured this deal with Gourmet Burger Kitchen. There is now just one remaining restaurant unit to let at the scheme.” Gourmet Burger Kitchen currently has 81 sites in the UK having opened its latest in Southport last month.
Robinsons reopens fire-ravaged Lake District pub following £2m investment: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has reopened traditional Lake District pub the Queens Head Hotel following a £2m investment. The grade II-listed pub in Troutbeck, ravaged by fire in 2014, has been restored to ensure the most accurate representation of the original but with a contemporary upgrade. The refurbished pub features several large drinking and dining areas set around three original fireplaces and the pub’s bar, which is made from an Elizabethan four poster-bed and survived the blaze. The Queens Head offers a rotating range of Robinsons cask ales alongside premium lager, wine and spirits, including an extensive gin range. The new menu features classic pub food using Cumbrian ingredients, while ten en-suite guest bedrooms upstairs have been named after Lakeland fells. Firefighters who helped battle the flames were invited to a special preview evening on Wednesday (28 March) by the pub’s new general manager Samantha Robinson. She said: “We are proud to be able to give this pub back to the people of Troutbeck and to pick up where we left off. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back, muddy boots, paws and all!” William Robinson, managing director of Robinsons Brewery’s pubs division, added: “It was a great moment to share the reopening of this historic pub with the firefighters who helped to save it.”
Spanish chef José Pizarro to launch fourth London site next week at Street Feast’s new Canary Wharf space: Spanish chef José Pizarro is launching his fourth London site, next week at Street Feast’s new space in Canary Wharf. Pizarro is opening Little José, which will be a tiny tapas bar, on Thursday, 6 April at the rooftop development in Crossrail Place. The menu will include Ibérico pork meatball sub with manchego, crispy fried squid “boca” with aioli and sides such as patatas bravas, padrón peppers and a daily changing tortilla. Drinks will feature cava, wine, sherry and Pizarro’s gin and tonic. Pizarro, who also operates José Tapas Bar and Pizarro Restaurant in Bermondsey, and José Pizarro in Broadgate, said: “My customers love José, with its cosy feel and simple small plates. I wanted to recreate that vibe here at Little José but also take the traditionally boring lunchtime ‘sandwich’ and give it a 21st century makeover.” Joining Little José at Street Feast will be street food traders Yum Bun, Bob’s Lobster and ThunderBird, the new one-stop chicken shop from BBQ Lab. The new rooftop space will offer panoramic views of Canary Wharf as well as all-day dining and drinking. The indoor space, featuring a huge, wraparound outdoor terrace, will be Street Feast’s first seven-day-a-week venue and marks the rapid expansion of the London Union-owned company, which launched in 2012.
Wasabi sister brand Kimchee starts expansion with second London site: Kimchee, the London-based Korean casual dining concept and Wasabi sister brand, has started expansion by opening its second site in the capital, this time in King’s Cross. The Pancras Square restaurant features a 100-cover, ground-floor dining room with an open plan kitchen, bar, and relaxed sofa area. Downstairs the restaurant has two separate private dining areas with 70 covers, one with specially developed barbecue tables and a private room that can seat up to 30. There is also an outside seating area with canopied terrace. Kimchee offers a range of meat, fish and vegetable dishes marinated in authentic Korean flavours and cooked on a traditional charcoal grill. The drinks menu, created by Barry McCaughley, features Korean-inspired cocktails and wine. Kimchee operations director Frederic Lluch said: “The Pancras Square site provides an ideal location for our second Kimchee restaurant – a vibrant, busy area of new urban redevelopment in King’s Cross. We hope the Kimchee concept enhances the square’s offering and provides locals with a unique and exciting dining experience.” The debut Kimchee launched close to High Holborn tube station.
BrewDog bites back over trademark row: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has responded to criticism surrounding its trademark row with Lone Wolf Bar in Birmingham and another legal issue with a Leeds “bar” called Draft Punk. BrewDog came under fire despite co-founder James Watt backing down and blaming “trigger-happy lawyers” for a legal move that forced the owners of the Birmingham bar to change its name. BrewDog has now defended further legal action against another, unrelated, move to trademark the name “Draft Punk”. The company stated in its blog: “In terms of the Lone Wolf Bar in Birmingham, we paid for and trademarked Lone Wolf in 2015. The Lone Wolf Bar in Birmingham opened in January 2017. Our wider team and legal partners, acting entirely in our best interests, informed them we owned the name and they would have to stop using it. However, hands up, we made a mistake in how we acted. We should take the view to only enforce if something really detrimental to our business is happening. And here, I do not think that was the case. As soon as I found out, I reversed the decision and offered to cover all of the costs. This is a mistake that hurt a lot but, like all mistakes, it made us better. In terms of the apparent ‘Draft Punk’ bar in Leeds, there was no bar and no ‘cease and desist’. The other party tried to register ‘Draft Punk’ as a trademark for bars and beer but we own the ‘Punk’ trademark for beer. If we did not object they could have registered ‘Punk’ and sold it to AB InBev the next day.”
Cote, Comptoir Libanais and Jamaica Blue sign for Trinity Leeds: French brasserie Cote, Comptoir Libanais and Jamaica Blue have signed to open sites in the Trinity Leeds shopping centre. Cote will open a 4,772 square foot venue in the summer on the first floor, overlooking the centre’s atrium. The opening will be the first northern site for international cafe restaurant brand Jamaica Blue, which arrived from Australia in 2015. The brand has 134 restaurants worldwide but only two in the UK, both in the south of England. The venue will open in a 2,280 square foot unit on the first floor. Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, will also make its debut in Leeds with its second site in the north. The venue will feature its branded Souk Shop at a unit next to the Everyman boutique cinema on the first floor. Cote chief executive Alex Scrimgeour told BDaily: “The restaurant is the perfect complement to our other stores within the portfolio. The scheme has such a loyal catchment area and a diverse, strong tenant mix. We are looking forward to this next phase of Cote.” Lisa Brook, general manager of Jamaica Blue owners Foodco UK, added: “Trinity’s reputation for bringing international brands to the UK and fostering their growth directly aligns with our UK expansion strategy. We’re looking to open in the leading centres across the country and Trinity ticks all the boxes.” JLL and Shelley Sandzer acted for Trinity Leeds owners Land Securities. Jamaica Blue, Comptoir Libanais and Cote represented themselves.
Marston’s secures licences for two new sites in Scotland: Marston’s has secured licences for two new sites in Scotland. The company has been granted a premises licence by Highland Council for a proposed 150-cover, new-build carvery at Slackbuie on the outskirts of Inverness. With work due to start on-site later this year towards an opening in early 2018, this represents another significant Scottish investment for the company – and its most northern to date. Marston’s has also been issued with a development and licence grant by Fife Council for a proposed development in Glenrothes. Licensing solicitors John Gaunt & Partners represented Marston’s on both applications.
Taco Bell set for Leeds after plans approved to reconfigure shopping centre space: Plans that will pave the way for Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell to come to Leeds have been approved. The company will be based at St Johns Shopping Centre in 2,140 square feet of newly configured space, creating 40 jobs. Valad Europe has been granted permission by the city council to change the use of two units on the upper ground floor from retail to restaurant/cafe space. One of the units is vacant, having most recently been used by a hairdresser’s, while the other has been temporarily let to an e-cigarette retailer. The space fronting Merrion Street has been vacant for about nine months and despite marketing efforts there has been no interest from retail users. The neighbouring shop has had a series of short-term lets interrupted by periods of vacancy during the past few years. Valad Europe has been managing the centre since its acquisition in 2015 to secure its “long-term vitality and vibrancy in challenging circumstances”, with the introduction of Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate making it harder to attract retail tenants, reports Insider Media.
Turtle Bay lodges plans for Plymouth restaurant: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay has lodged plans to open a site in Plymouth. The company wants to open the venue in the city’s former main post office in St Andrew’s Cross, which closed at the end of last year. It has applied to the city council to convert the vacant ground-floor plot from a Class A1 (retail) to A3 (restaurant) premises. The space above is being converted into student flats. The company plans to invest £800,000 in the 215-cover restaurant, creating more than 50 jobs, reports Devon Live. The refitted 480 square metre site would feature an island hut bar, indoor “verandah” and open kitchen. The decor would feature repurposed shipping containers, oil drum lampshades, reclaimed wood and disused speakers. The company, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 34 sites across the UK, having opened its first restaurant in Milton Keynes in 2010.
Loungers launches in Weston-super-Mare: Loungers, the Lion Capital-backed cafe bar operator, has opened a site in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. The company has launched Brunello Lounge, named after engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, in Beach Road at the site of former nightclub Seven, creating 25 jobs. Loungers has transformed the interior with eclectic artwork, pop art-inspired table tops, vintage sofas and school benches. A huge mural depicting Brunel, who lived in Weston and built the Exeter to Bristol railway among many achievements, was commissioned for the back bar. Loungers, which also operates the Cosy Club brand, intends to open a minimum of 20 sites in 2017 and will reach the milestone of 100 sites by the end of April. The company was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop.
Bill’s lodges plans to add to Essex presence with Braintree site: Bill’s Restaurants, owned by Richard Caring, has lodged plans to add to its presence in Essex by opening a site in Braintree. The company has applied to Braintree District Council to open the restaurant at the Freeport Designer Village. It would join other restaurant brands, including Tasty-owned Wildwood, PizzaExpress, Prezzo and TGI Friday’s. Bill’s has also applied for permission to sell alcohol between 10am and midnight, reports Essex Live. Bill’s has 75 sites around the UK, including two others in Essex – in Colchester and Chelmsford – while it also plans to open a restaurant in Brentwood. Founder Bill Collison opened the first site in Lewes, East Sussex, in 2001.
Dunkin’ Donuts offers ‘order ahead’ at US stores: Dunkin’ Donuts is now offering “order ahead” at its US stores after extending its partnership with crowdsourced traffic smartphone app Waze. Customers can now submit orders via a smartphone app and pick them up in-store. Members of the DD Perks rewards programme can use Waze to pinpoint the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts location and tap a button to launch on-the-go ordering within the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Dunkin’ Donuts chief digital officer Scott Hudler said: “We are proud to be the first brand to integrate with Waze to enhance the mobile experience and offer our DD Perks members faster, more convenient ways for ordering ahead.” Dunkin’ Donuts, which has more than 12,200 restaurants in 45 countries, first partnered with Waze in 2012 to map its US store locations.
Five Guys to open restaurant at former Bella Italia site at Cheshire Oaks next month: Better burger brand Five Guys is to open a site at the Cheshire Oaks shopping complex next month. The company is opening the venue on the site of a former Bella Italia restaurant, the brand owned by Casual Dining Group, reports the Liverpool Echo. The restaurant, which will have capacity for 76 diners inside as well as outside seating, is due to open on Friday, 28 April and will be Five Guys’ 62nd UK site. Five Guys was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family and opened its first UK restaurant in Covent Garden in 2013.
Claude Bosi launches Bibendum in South Kensington: Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi has teamed up with Sir Terence Conran to launch Claude Bosi at Bibendum in South Kensington, London. The venue has opened at Michelin House in Fulham Road with a seafood restaurant offering lunch and dinner and an all-day oyster bar. The menu features some classics from Bosi’s two Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Hibiscus, including oyster omelette with watercress and caviar, and roast chicken with seasonally rotating sides for two. There are also two trolleys – the carvery trolley at weekends and the more regular dessert trolley. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and Wednesday to Saturday for dinner. The oyster bar is open seven days a week. In December, Bosi bought The Church Inn in Ludlow, Shropshire, with brother Cedric. The brothers also own The Townhouse hotel in Ludlow and The Swan Inn in Esher, Surrey. Bosi closed Hibiscus in October.
MyLahore seeks to relocate Leeds restaurant to meet growing demand: MyLahore, the brand that offers a self-proclaimed British and healthy twist on Asian food, has applied to relocate its Leeds restaurant and takeaway operation to meet demand. Founded in 2002 by cousins Asghar Ali and Shakoor Ahmed, MyLahore has restaurants in Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. The company has applied to the city council to relocate its Leeds base of six years in Burley Road to a larger site in nearby Kirkstall Road. According to the application, the 20-seat operation is no longer able to support the growing business, reports Insider Media. The earmarked site, located on an arterial route within an area characterised by retail, restaurants and residential, offers 10,750 square feet spread across two floors. MyLahore employs 25 staff in Leeds but this is expected to grow to 40 if the move goes ahead.
Multi-operator-backed on-trade wine supplier reports ‘very successful’ first six months of trading: Multi-operator-backed on-trade wine supplier East Street Wine Co has reported a “very successful” first six months of trading. The company, which was launched by Danny Spencer and Peter Smith, both former directors of Manchester-based Boutinot Wines, said it was “slightly up on forecast” having enjoyed a decent Christmas and building on that success in the first quarter of 2017. East Street Wine Co supplies wine exclusively to the on-trade and was founded with the support and investment of a number of multi-site operators. Spencer and Smith said their success was bucking the current trend in the wine trade, with many merchants suggesting a move towards consolidation and depersonalisation, citing the huge impact on the cost of wine imports caused by the currency slump following last year’s Brexit decision. Spencer said: “After 20 years as sales director for the on-trade, many customers had become friends and their immediate offer of ‘whatever you do next, we’re with you’ was humbling and decisive. It’s a bit like reverse crowdfunding but knowing those operators are with us, not only bringing their business acumen but a significant financial investment, was critical in ensuring we kept on doing what we do best.” The company offers a next-day delivery service nationwide via London City Bond.
West Yorkshire-based multi-site operator to continue expansion of seafood restaurant concept Catch with third site: West Yorkshire-based multi-site operator Lee Roberts is to continue expansion of his seafood restaurant concept Catch with a third site, this time on the outskirts of Newcastle. Roberts is set to bring a fresh lease of life to The Waggon Inn in Higham Dykes when he opens the venue in May. The restaurant will also cater for overnight stays, with the refurbishment including five en-suite guest bedrooms. There will also be a separate bar serving wine, spirits, beer, ale and seasonal cocktails, reports Chronicle Live. As well as a catch of the day and weekly specials, it will offer an a la carte menu and its Yorkshire sites are known for dishes such as swordfish steak, haddock and prawn burger, and seafood thermidor. Roberts launched Catch in 2015 at a former mill in West Vale, near Halifax, before expanding with a second site, this time in Holmfirth. He also owns The Fleece in Barkisland and The Milestone in Ripponden.
Ross-on-Wye restaurateur lodges plans for tapas and cocktail lounge: Ross-on-Wye restaurateur Darren Leonard has lodged plans for a tapas and cocktail lounge in the Herefordshire town. Leonard, who launched No 3 in Gloucester Road in 2015, has applied to Herefordshire Council to open the venue in the former YMCA charity shop in High Street. Leonard said he wanted to open the venue, entitled Leonards at 39, after having to turn away customers who wanted to simply enjoy a cocktail at his debut restaurant. The new venue would feature an extensive cocktail list and tapas menu with about 30 to 40 dishes. Leonard told the Hereford Times: “We have to turn away groups of girls on a Saturday who are coming to the door looking for cocktails. We want to fill that gap. What we haven’t got in Ross is a really good bar and, if you want to eat, there will be quality tapas.”
G & B Investments to open second nightclub in Merthyr Tydfil, on Friday: G & B Investments, which operates the Kirkhouse nightclub in Merthyr Tydfil, will open a second venue in the Welsh town on Friday (31 March). Secrets will open in Post Office Lane in the town centre on the site of the former Play nightclub, which closed seven years ago, Wales Online reports. The 400-capacity nightclub will be set over two floors and feature a dance room, seating room and downstairs bar. It will initially open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights playing mainstream chart and house music, plus celebrity appearances and a student night on Thursdays. G & B Investments is led by brothers Gurj and Lee Jaswal.
Kaspa’s to open Broadstairs site on Saturday: US-style dessert parlour brand Kaspa’s is to open a site in Broadstairs, Kent, this week. The company will open the venue at the Westwood Cross shopping centre on Saturday (1 April), reports Kent Online. Kaspa’s offers a menu featuring shakes, smoothies, cakes and crepes. Dishes, which are also available to take away, include bubblelicious sundaes, mango mania sundaes, white choc indulgence waffles, strawberry indulge crepes and After Eight milkshakes. For healthier options, it also offers protein shakes and gluten-free desserts. Kaspa’s currently operates 36 sites in the UK, with another 29 listed on its website as “opening soon”.
Staycity reports early trading success at new French sites: Dublin-based aparthotel operator Staycity has said its new Marseille and Lyon properties have achieved high occupancy figures and exceeded budget expectations in their first month of trading. The company opened the 108-apartment Staycity Centre Vieux Port at the beginning of February in Marseille’s old port area. The property will see occupancy for March reach more than 80%, with forward bookings for April expected to exceed that figure. Staycity Lyon Rue Garibaldi, the 144-apartment, purpose-built building that opened in early March, is also likely to be ahead of budget expectations in its first few weeks of trading, the company said. Chief executive Tom Walsh said: “The early success of both these properties reinforces our commitment to further expansion in France and demonstrates the growing demand for aparthotels.” Staycity already operates a property in the 10th district of Paris and is expected to add further properties in France during the next 18 months. The company has more than 3,000 apartments across ten European cities, including Birmingham, Dublin, York, Edinburgh and London. Later this year, Staycity will open in Manchester as well as unveiling its new premium brand at The Strand in London. Staycity Aparthotels intends to expand to 15,000 apartments by 2022. Earlier this month, the company appointed Markus Beike as development director for Germany and central and eastern Europe, with a focus on expanding the brand in those regions.
Peak District hotel brought to market for £1.75m: The George Hotel in Hathersage, Derbyshire, in the heart of the Peak District, has been brought to market by agent Savills on behalf of a private client for a guide price of £1.75m. The 500-year-old former coaching inn has been converted into a 24-bedroom hotel offering ten superior rooms, 11 doubles and three singles. The venue also features a bar and restaurant plus two function rooms – The Courtyard Suite and The Boardroom – that cater for 65 and 25 guests respectively. The George Hotel is 11 miles from Sheffield, 30 miles from Manchester and close to numerous tourist attractions including Ladybower Reservoir, Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve and Chatsworth House. Savills’ hotels director Tom Cunningham said: “This historic hotel benefits from a strong tourist trade thanks to its location right at the heart of the Peak District. As a popular wedding and conference venue, it also offers potential new owners multiple income streams and we anticipate significant market interest.”