Mayfair restaurant Wild Honey goes on market: Mayfair restaurant Wild Honey has been put up for sale, Propel has learned. The site in St George Street is being advertised on Restaurant Property’s website. Premium offers are being invited for the 2,267 square foot space, which has a rent of £103,000 per annum. Chef Anthony Demetre and Will Smith launched Wild Honey in October 2007 as a sister restaurant to Arbutus in Soho. It won a Michelin star within a year of opening but lost it in 2016. In the same year, Demetre and Smith sold Arbutus and Smith moved to Scotland to pursue private ventures. Demetre now runs Wild Honey as an independent solo business. Its menu showcases classic French techniques matched with British seasonal ingredients.
Pure reports vegetarian and vegan sales rise more than 30%: Pure, the healthy food-to-go concept, has reported sales of its vegan and vegetarian range increased 30% this month. The announcement comes as Pure released research showing almost three-fifths (57%) of Londoners have been eating more vegetarian and vegan food since the start of the year. Slightly more women (58%) said they had been eating more vegetarian food in January compared with men (56%), while almost two-thirds (64%) of under-35s said it was their aim for January. Pure co-founder Edward Bentley said: “Sales of our most popular vegetarian and vegan soups, pastas and hot boxes have grown by more than 30% in January. It is incredible to see so many people embracing a plant-based lifestyle.” Founded in 2009 by Bentley and Spencer Craig, Pure operates 17 shops in London. Whitbread acquired a 51% stake in the company in 2016 and it has “several” more openings planned before the end of 2019, including at the Broadway Centre in Hammersmith.
Korean restaurant owner to launch lunch box concept for third London site: Lee Wooyung, who operates CheeMC in Southwark and GoGo Pocha in Waterloo, is to launch a new concept for his third Korean restaurant in London. Unimini will open in Eastcheap specialising in Korean and Japanese lunch boxes. Customers will be able to choose rice or noodles and build their box using ingredients such as kimchi, meat, vegetables and sashimi, with a “huge variety of possible combinations”. Wooyung said: “This concept will extend our business to meet the growing demand for good takeaway options in central London. Hungry tourists and workers will be able to eat quickly and for excellent value while being able to construct their bento boxes in a way that is completely tailored to them.” Tom Crosthwaite, of CDG Leisure, who acted on behalf of the previous tenant, said: “Unimini will fit well in this area of the City, which is developing rapidly in terms of retail and leisure. With the operator’s expertise in Korean cuisine, the restaurant is guaranteed to be a welcome addition to the lunchtime offer.”
Bonnie Gull managing director to open fishmonger, deli and champagne bar in Chelsea: Alex Hunter, managing director of British seaside restaurant concept Bonnie Gull, is to open a venue in Chelsea that will operate as a fishmonger and delicatessen by day and turn into a seafood and champagne bar at night. The Sea, The Sea will launch in Pavilion Road in April offering seafood sourced from mainly British fish markets. The venue, which is named after the Iris Murdoch novel, will also sell stocks, sauces, marinades, pies, ceviche, and pickled and smoked seafood from its deli. The Sea, The Sea will also host masterclasses on seafood-related activities such as oyster shucking, curing and fish filleting. Appearances by guest chefs such as Ikoyi’s Jeremy Chan and Londrino’s Leo Carreira have also been scheduled, Hot Dinners reports. In the evening, the oyster bar will convert into a champagne bar offering small plates, bowls and shellfish platters. Bonnie Gull operates seafood shacks in Soho and Fitzrovia, while Hunter launched grab-and-go concept Salt ‘n’ Sauce in Oxford in March 2018.
Adventure Leisure eyes Deltic Group site in Basildon for golf brand: Adventure Leisure is eyeing a Deltic Group site in Basildon, Essex, for its adventure golf brand Mr Mulligan’s Lost World Golf. Adventure Leisure has submitted plans to Basildon Council to convert Chicago’s at Festival Leisure Park. The plan includes two nine-hole crazy golf courses, a bar, restaurant and mezzanine. Deltic Group planned to close Chicago’s in December but changed its mind to “take advantage of the Christmas and New Year party season”. The company told Propel the future of Chicago’s had still to be confirmed and insisted it was business as usual for now. Adventure Leisure operates eight Mr Mulligan’s Lost World Golf sites, including Cheltenham and Milton Keynes.
Acai Berry opens fourth London site, in Chelsea: Brazilian superfood brand Acai Berry has opened its fourth London site. Founders Marcus Carmo and Renato Damiano have launched the superfood bar in King’s Road, Chelsea, focusing on acai – a staple in Brazilian and US daily diets – in bowls and as snacks or smoothies. It also offers protein balls, brownies and organic coffee. The venue is the brand’s largest yet, while menu additions include the Tropical Funky, served for two people inside a fresh pineapple bowl and filled with acai, fresh strawberries, kiwi fruit and organic coconut flakes; and Kale Kick (acai, organic coconut water, fresh kale and banana). Carmo said: “We are glad our customers have embraced our brand. Renato and I have enjoyed this incredibly delicious superfood all our lives in Brazil and we wanted to share it with the UK. It is a lifestyle thing. If you have a desire to be healthy and fit and the best version of yourself, you’ll love acai.” The brand began as a stall in Brick Lane and has grown to permanent sites in Argyll Street, Carnaby Street and Oxford Circus, while it also operates a pop-up bar in Ibiza.
SSP to open six restaurants at Phoenix airport: SSP America, a division of SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, is to open six restaurants during January in Terminal 3 of Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport (PHX). The restaurants will be a mix of local and national brands as part of the terminal’s $590m modernisation programme. The new restaurants are Original ChopShop (protein bowls, salads, sandwiches, superfruit bowls and protein shakes); Überrito Fresh Mex (burritos, bowls, salads and nachos); Tarbell’s Tavern (chef-driven plates in a fast casual environment); Christopher’s (gourmand plates); The Habit Burger Grill (chargrilled burgers and sandwiches); and Peet’s (craft coffee). SSP America vice-president of business development Scott Welding said: “Sense of place, taste of place and commitment to the community combined with optimum choice for the passenger and exceptional customer service are the hallmarks of SSP America’s new contract with PHX.” SSP America began operations at the airport’s Terminal 4 in 2013 with a ten-year contract that includes 26 restaurants.
Cutter & Squidge to start expansion with City of London launch: Cutter & Squidge, the sister-owned Soho bakery, is to start expansion by opening a second site, in the City of London. The boutique will open at The Royal Exchange in Threadneedle Street on Monday, 11 February offering the brand’s freshly baked cakes, “biskies”, brownies, macarons, cake truffles, cookies and afternoon tea. All items will be made from natural ingredients with a “less is best” approach to fat and sugar. The drinks list will focus on coffee and the brand’s signature rainbow tea lattes. Cutter & Squidge said it already catered to a number of City-based customers through its online and delivery services, while the new site would allow the company to extend its click-and-collect service. Cutter & Squidge co-owner Annabel Lui said: “I started my career working in the City but always dreamt of following my true childhood passion of owning a bakery with my sister, Emily. We made that happen and now, on the fifth anniversary of our first market stall, to return to the City as a baker not a banker feels like a huge milestone.”
Kentish Town cocktail bar launches in Camden for number two: William Borrell, who operates cocktail bar Ladies and Gentlemen (L&G) from former public toilets in Kentish Town, north west London, has started expansion of the brand by opening a sister site in Camden. Borrell, who is also founder of vodka brand Vestal, has opened the bar in former public toilets close to Camden Road station. In an Instagram post, Borrell quipped: “Yes, it’s our number two.” Award-winning bartender Josh Powell will be at the helm of 45-cover L&G Camden, which will feature a mix of high-top and table seating, Hot Dinners reports.
BrewDog to open first bar of 2019, in Carlisle next week: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog will open its first bar of 2019, in Carlisle next week. The company will open the venue on Friday, 25 January in Botchergate – its first site in Cumbria. It will offer 22 taps of craft beer alongside wine, spirits and coffee, roasted at the company’s Ellon headquarters, alongside BrewDog’s menu of pizza, burgers and wings. BrewDog, which has also secured a long-sought venue in Dalston, east London, opened 34 sites in 2018, taking it to 81 worldwide. Like-for-like sales in its UK bars grew 4.1% during the year, with international like-for-likes increasing 5.4%.
Ascot Brewing Company passes halfway mark in £250,000 crowdfunding campaign: Ascot Brewing Company has passed the halfway mark in its £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to move to larger premises and buy equipment to meet demand. The brewer, which was acquired by local businessmen Chris Davies and Mike Neame last year and is based in Camberley, Surrey, raised more than £270,000 on Crowdcube at the start of last year to ramp up brewing capacity. It has returned for a second funding round, offering 14.29% equity in return for the £250,000 investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £1.5m. So far, 169 investors have pledged £126,760 with 15 days of the campaign remaining. The pitch states: “To accelerate the next phase of our growth we are raising further capital to move premises and equip the brewery appropriately. We aim to increase brewing capacity and our sales team, meeting demand for kegs and cans in the UK and for export; increase revenue by maximising value from our brewery, web and brewery shop, and micro-pub; roll out contactless ‘smart pump clips’ to pubs that will instantly answer consumer questions about a beer’s style, hops and process; and test-market Ascot House Amarillo handcrafted gin using our knowledge of hops, flavours and aromas.”
Former Domino’s Pizza distribution warehouse in Cumbria on market for £1.5m: A former Domino’s Pizza distribution warehouse in Cumbria has gone on the market with a guide price of £1.5m. Located on a 1.96 acre site at Gilwilly Industrial Estate in Penrith, the 28,632 square foot facility comprises nine dock-level loading doors, and parking for 30 cars and 14 heavy goods vehicles. It was built in the early 2000s and features 17,718 square feet of warehouse space, 7,254 square feet of production space and two storeys of office space. The site has been brought to market through agent Colliers International following the relocation of Domino’s Pizza distribution and production operations to a 117,000 square foot site in Warrington, reports Insider Media.
Gail’s Bakery upgrades EPOS: Gail’s Bakery, which is backed by sector investor Luke Johnson, has upgraded the EPOS and stock control technology across its 47-strong estate. Installation of Access Hospitality’s EPOS and Stocklink programmes has been boosted by bespoke bakery ordering processes and staff training as well as hybrid use of hardware to minimise costs. A biometric sign-in has also been developed to connect to third-party systems. In addition to faster transaction times, Gail’s head office can take live data to create business intelligence reports. Further work is under way to integrate e-commerce applications, including reducing waste within the stocking process, as the next steps in the business’ expansion.
St Peter’s Brewery appoints former Adnams national account manager as head of sales: Suffolk-based St Peter’s Brewery has appointed former Adnams national account manager Rob Breakwell as head of sales as it looks to significantly grow on-trade sales. Breakwell’s initial objective is to grow the brewery’s cask distribution nationally and evolve its new draught distribution offering. Breakwell was at Suffolk brewer and pub operator Adnams for almost 13 years before taking the director of sales role at London-based honey craft beer company Hiver. St Peter’s Brewery managing director John Hadingham said: “This year is going to be one of big changes for St Peter’s. Rob is hugely experienced and respected within the industry. He is incredibly well known and well connected. We have many opportunities ahead, particularly across the on-trade, for which Rob’s experience will be invaluable.” Breakwell added: “I am thrilled to join St Peter’s at such an exciting time.”