San Carlo Group to launch new pizzeria concept in Manchester city centre: Italian restaurant group San Carlo is set to launch a new Neapolitan pizzeria concept – Pizza Madre – in Manchester city centre. The new venue will be opposite the original San Carlo restaurant, in the former 47 King Street West site, offering wood-fired pizza and rotisserie chicken as well as a selection of Italian craft beers and what owners promise will be “great-value wine”. The pizzeria is set to open in late spring after a major refurbishment of the site, which has housed pop-up winter restaurant Feast – a collaboration between San Carlo and chef Robert Owen Brown – since November. San Carlo Group managing director Marcello Distefano told Manchester Evening News: “We’re excited to be bringing a very new and different concept to Manchester and look forward to revealing more soon.” San Carlo Group operates 17 restaurants in the UK, including Fumo sites in Manchester and Birmingham, Flying Pizza in Leeds, London’s Signor Sissi, and Cicchetti restaurants in Manchester and London. International franchises in Bahrain and Qatar are also set to launch this year as the company aims to develop a global brand. They will join established venues Cicchetti in Doha and Signor Sissi in Bangkok.
Former BrewDog employee to embark on £100,000 crowdfunding campaign to launch cold brew coffee company: Former BrewDog employee Emily Fitchett is to embark on a £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to launch her cold brew coffee company. Fitchett, who worked as a UK distribution key account manager for BrewDog, will be offering about a 12% equity stake in her company Fitch Brew Co in return for the investment. The fund-raise, which is set to launch on Monday, 13 February, will enable Fitchett to buy the equipment, cans and beans needed to get her started on a scalable level. The coffee brewery will be based in Leeds, next door to North Brewing Co. Fitchett told Propel the prototype run alone had led to more than 20 independent bar listings and she was in talks with Matthew Clark to distribute once the necessary equipment was in place. She said: “Cold brew as a category around the world has seen phenomenal growth over the past five years and now has an estimated value in the US of $3.6bn by 2020. We are very much at the start of the trend in the UK, but it is certainly starting to gain traction. Coming from a drinks industry background, I could instantly see the potential for cold brew within this market, especially the on-trade due to its versatility. We have designed the flavour of our cold brew to enable it to work alongside alcohol brands and definitely have plans to look at collaborations with craft beer and spirits and cocktail companies. We have designed the product to sit alongside craft beer and energy drinks in a back bar, which is why we chose a can instead of bottle. Plus, with the growing popularity of cans as well as advantages around safety and preserving product freshness, it was a no-brainer for me. It’s an incredibly exciting time for us and I can’t wait to develop the category in the UK and see where we can take it.”
200 Degrees to open fifth site in March, in Leicester: Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees is set to open its fifth site, this time in Leicester. The company, founded by Rob Darby and Tom Vincent in 2012, will open the outlet on Thursday, 9 March in Market Street on the site of the former Lumbers Jewellers, creating 15 jobs. Vincent told the Nottingham Post: “We’ve had a fantastic response to our previous coffee shops and we are very pleased to have secured our fifth site. We will be bringing the stylish and comfortable interior and many familiar elements we offer at our other coffee shops, while adding a few special new ideas for the busy commuters and nearby offices, along with some small booths for quiet chats or meetings. The company has two sites in Nottingham and one each in Birmingham and Leeds.
Turtle Bay cleared to open Sheffield site following legal tussle: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay has been cleared to open a site in Sheffield following a legal tussle with the city council. The company was granted a premises licence by the council in September to be one of three new venues opening in the former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) building. However, health and safety fears led councillors to ban waiters from carrying food and drink up and down a staircase, which Turtle Bay said would “seriously affect” the operation. However, following an appeal a council spokesman told The Star a licence had been issued as long as the restaurant used a “common sense approach”. The building, which opened in 1988 when the NUM relocated from London, will also feature a bar housing Marston’s Pitcher & Piano brand when the £5m refurbishment is complete. Meanwhile, Turtle Bay has opened its 34th and latest site – in Croydon at the former Tiger Tiger nightclub.
BrewDog reveals ten ‘most exciting plans’ for its tenth anniversary year: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has set out the ten things it is “most excited about for 2017” as the company enters its tenth anniversary year. In its blog, BrewDog lists a new bottling line, refrigerated supply chain, and sour brewpub in Ohio as well as a new book and updates to its app and website as things to look out for in 2017. It stated: “This year we are replacing one of our longest-serving pieces of machinery. Custom-engineered for us in Germany, we are installing a new bottling line in Ellon capable of filling, capping and loading 46,000 bottles of craft beer an hour. ‘Colder and Fresher’ is our way of revolutionising distribution of our beer – we are implementing a completely chilled supply chain in 2017. So beer, freighted to where it needs to be, in refrigerated trucks. From there, into chilled warehouses. Every part of the journey conducted in cool temperatures to ensure our beer gets into your hands tasting amazing.” BrewDog said it was also planning a sister operation to its Ellon Overworks – a sour brewpub in downtown Columbus, Ohio. It added that the company had “put pen to paper” and was working on a book covering its beers, history and philosophy alongside new tips and recipes. BrewDog added that its first batches of Lone Wolf gin and vodka would be released soon, and it would release a new IPA “some time during the year”.
Highclere estate heir opens all-day independent brasserie in Putney: Highclere estate heir George Porchester has opened an all-day independent brasserie in Putney, south west London. Porchester has launched Jules in Lacy Road as his first hospitality venture having initially pursued a career in finance. Devised by chef Alvaro San Millan, Jules’ menu is based around a list of international tapas-style dishes alongside stone-baked gourmet pizzas, charcuterie and cheeses, and a “dish of the day”. A breakfast and brunch menu will be served until midday. The 50-cover dining room offers a range of seating areas from high bar stools to banquettes. Porchester said: “We hope in Jules, people will find a place they can drop into at any time and with anyone. We intend to be informal, honest and accessible, somewhere guests will want to recommend and return to again and again for the consistently great quality of food and service.”
Coco di Mama partners with Theo Randall for seasonal pasta sauce range: Coco di Mama, the London-based quick-service Italian food and coffee operator owned by Azzurri Group, is launching a new special range of seasonal pasta sauces, created with leading chef and pasta expert Theo Randall. The four sauces will be exclusively available from Wednesday, 1 March at Coco di Mama’s 15 outlets, alongside classics from the Coco di Mama signature sauce selection. Randall’s sauces for spring 2017 will feature lamb and mint ragu, primavera (based on seasonal vegetables), spring chicken and pea and Italian sausage. Customers pick a sauce and one of the pasta shapes available each day, which always include a gluten-free option, and receive a hot pot of their pasta in less than a minute. Randall has been working alongside other food teams at Azzurri Group-owned restaurants for more than five years and once introduced to co-founders Daniel Land and Jeremy Sanders, was taken with their passion for their product and was keen to help them elevate it even further. Randall said: “Coco di Mama have demonstrated that great Italian food can also be served quickly, and I’ve loved the challenge of creating these special recipes to reflect the best spring ingredients.” Coco di Mama, which was launched in Fleet Street in 2011, has just secured its 16th site, in Westminster.
Grind opens eighth site, in Exmouth Market: London-based Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar, has opened its eighth site, in Exmouth Market. The 90-seat venue offers a host of menu options as well as the company’s signature espresso martinis, reports Hot Dinners. The menu includes eight-hour lamb shank with spiced sweet potato and coriander raita as well as steak with calcots and red pepper. Founded in 2011 by David Abrahamovitch and Kaz James, the company’s other venues are in Clerkenwell, Covent Garden, Holborn, London Bridge, Royal Exchange, Shoreditch and Soho.
Dorset-based restaurant group Hive Beach to open third site in county: Dorset-based restaurant group Hive Beach is set to open its third venue in the county. The group, which is owned by the Attrill family, operates the Hive Beach Café at Burton Bradstock and the Watch House Café at nearby West Bay, Bridport. Hive Beach is now set to launch another site in the spring at West Bexington, close to Chesil Beach, which will cater to a “more exclusive market. The new venue – The Club House – will be at a site formerly occupied by the Blue Anchor Café. A full refurbishment is under way, while a number of full-time jobs will be created as well as seasonal and part-time positions. Barclays business manager Chris Pocock, who put the funding package for the deal together, told Insider Media: “It’s great to be able to support a local business that is thriving and expanding for the future. The family has big plans and building on an excellent reputation, which in turn is creating jobs and supporting the local economy.”
McDonald’s planning to open more than 50 restaurants in Russia this year: McDonald’s is planning to open more than 50 restaurants in Russia this year and hopes to sign more franchising deals to expand in existing and new regions. The company opened 73 restaurants in Russia last year, exceeding its forecast. Of the newly-opened restaurants, 65 are company-owned. McDonald’s Russia head Khamzat Khasbulatov said the target for new outlets in 2017 did not signify the company was slowing the pace of its expansion. He told Reuters: “(The situation) has not got better or worse – 50 is not a small number. We are just giving more freedom to our partners and time to gather pace.” McDonald’s currently has three franchisees in Russia, two of which have been opening its outlets in the Urals and Siberia. Franchisees operate 92 restaurants out of its total of 609. Khasbulatov added: “The (franchising) programme will develop, we are looking for new partners.” He added the company aimed to bring the share of local suppliers to almost 100% by the end of 2018 from the current 85% and was encouraging suppliers to develop production in Russia – a move likely to shield it from currency swings and any import restrictions. In 2014 Russia banned many food imports in retaliation to Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis. The food embargo, which is still in place, has driven up prices and gave a boost to the Russian agriculture industry.
Krispy Kreme set for triple opening: Krispy Kreme is set to open three further sites in the UK within the next few weeks – in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Thursday (2 February), at the Buttermarket shopping centre in Ipswich on Tuesday, 7 February and Bexleyheath, south east London, on St Valentine’s Day (14 February). Krispy Kreme will operate a 300 square foot site in The Mall as part of the Blackburn shopping centre’s move towards a more “diverse, casual and family dining offer”. In October, Krispy Kreme UK confirmed the sale of 100% of share capital to Krispy Kreme Group, its US-based brand owner. The company said it would continue its strategy of “delivering profitable growth through the opening of new retail stores and self-serve cabinets across the UK and Republic of Ireland and driving core sales growth across the existing estate”. Krispy Kreme UK operates more than 70 stores across Britain.
Shepherd Cox acquires 16th hotel after adding Oxfordshire site to portfolio: Property company Shepherd Cox has snapped up its 16th hotel after adding the Jersey Arms near Bicester, Oxfordshire, to its portfolio. The company has bought the site from a private client in a deal brokered by agent Colliers International, which was marketing the freehold with offers of about £1m invited. The Jersey Arms includes a bar with fireplace, a restaurant seating up to 40 as well as 20 bedrooms – six king, three suites, six standard doubles, two twin and three single rooms. Shepherd Cox has developed a diversified group of assets worth £40m in sectors including healthcare, hotels, leisure and residential. It mainly operates in the north of England but ventures south whenever the deal allows. Company director Nick Carlile said: “We plan to increase the number of rooms from 20 to about 25 by converting some of the meeting rooms and will look at adding another storey to the existing extension.” In the past 36 months, Shepherd Cox has, alongside its investment partners, expanded its hotel portfolio and currently offers upwards of 600 rooms across the country.
Bloomsbury acquires its first hotel outside London: London-based hotel company Bloomsbury Realty Management has acquired its first venue outside the capital, The Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe, Suffolk. The Orwell is close to Felixstowe railway station and within a few hundred yards of the town centre. The hotel was offered to the market by agent Fleurets on behalf of the owner, Manor Investments (Ipswich). Bob Whittle, of Fleurets, said: “My brief was to find a competent and experienced hotelier to take over the total operational running of the business. Strong and varied interest in the opportunity was expressed but I am delighted Bloomsbury Realty Management has secured this substantial 68-bedroom hotel and functions business and I wish the company much future success.” Bloomsbury Realty Management operations director Gehan Raj added: “We are delighted to add The Orwell Hotel to our growing portfolio. The Orwell Hotel has been long established in Felixstowe. It is ideally located and we believe it has great potential.” The company operates three hotels in central London and a country house wedding venue south of the Thames. Bloomsbury Realty Management has its own online reservations network and receives about 1.8 million visitors and processes 50,000 room nights per year.
Enterprise Inns pubs show diversity by combining beer and hymns: Two Enterprise Inns village pubs in the north of England are combining beer and hymns with pints and prayers. The New Inn, in the Yorkshire Dales, and County Durham’s Spotted Dog, which are run under Ei Publican Partnerships – Enterprise Inns’ leased and tenanted division – have both opened their doors to church congregations. When the village church in Clapham closed for renovation work in 2015, New Inn publicans Ron and Lesley Benson invited vicar Ian Greenhalgh to use the pub for a Sunday fellowship meeting. The meetings are now a regular feature. Held every two months, they attract about 50 churchgoers who listen to talks, sing hymns, and play music. Meanwhile, at The Spotted Dog in High Coniscliffe, near Darlington, beer and hymn evenings are also taking place. Publican Steve Grabham, who has been at The Spotted Dog for three years, got the idea for the beer and hymn nights after a Christmas carol event proved popular. Ei Publican Partnerships regional manager Mark Price said: “This is a wonderful example of one of our publicans putting their pub at the heart of the community they’re in.”
Wahaca to keep ‘Taco Tuesdays’ deal in place for whole year: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca is to keep its “Taco Tuesdays” deal in place for the whole year. The company introduced Taco Tuesdays in January, which meant each diner’s first plate of tacos costs £1 on Tuesdays. A spokesman told Kent Live: “The inaugural month of the offer saw more than 10,000 plates of £1 tacos snapped up by taco lovers across Britain, showing that #TacoTuesday is already becoming an official thing in the UK! Wahaca’s classic pork pibil tacos, which are five-hour braised in a secret Yucatecan marinade, are streets ahead as the favourite, with about 1,000 of them being snapped up each day so far this year.”
Stonegate Pub Company launches third annual Popworld Loves You campaign: Stonegate Pub Company has launched its customer appreciation campaign for its Popworld nightclub brand for the third year running. As a new prize this year, the Popworld Loves You campaign awarded student Stacy Benstead, from Liverpool, the title of Popworld’s “number one fan”. Her prize included the Popworld team transforming her living room to create an at-home party, featuring DJs playing the “best of 90s cheesy pop”, fancy dress and drinks. Popworld head of marketing Alan Armstrong said: “We have some loyal customers who are all about letting their hair down and having a great time. We think it’s only right that, every now and again, we give back to them and show them how much we care. To create a Popworld in someone’s living room is a first for us and one we absolutely loved doing. Stacy is such a huge fan of Popworld and giving her the party of a lifetime to enjoy with her friends was a token of how much we value her support.” Running throughout February, the campaign will offer customers giveaways such as VIP Smirnoff booths alongside drinks promotions.
Bocca di Lupo introduces regional menu ‘takeovers’: Bocca di Lupo, the Italian restaurant in Soho founded by Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo, has introduced a series of month-long regional “takeovers”. During February, June and October this year, Bocca di Lupo will overhaul its set menus to offer a variety of dishes that celebrate an Italian region, while on Sundays throughout the month the private dining room will be transformed into a “feasting den” featuring a regional tasting menu, banquet-style sharing tables and guides to the food and wine of the chosen region. February will feature the Valtellina Ski Menu, with Kenedy taking inspiration from foods served on the Lombardy slopes. Dishes include dwarf deer marinated and stewed in red wine with spices and chocolate. Desserts include buckwheat, wild blueberry and ricotta layer cake doused in barrel-aged Muscat grappa. Kenedy and Hugo also operate West End Italian restaurant Vico.