TRG Concessions takes over JD Wetherspoon pub at Aberdeen airport: The Restaurant Group (TRG) Concessions has opened its fifth catering outlet in Aberdeen International Airport and has become its exclusive catering partner. TRG Concessions has worked with the airport since 2009 to develop and operate catering concessions and employs a team of 60 on-site at the summer peak. The Granite City pub has been taken over by TRG Concessions as part of a long-term investment programme at the airport that will see more than £2m spent refurbishing and developing the food and beverage offers over the next 18 months. The pub was previously operated by JD Wetherspoon. The Granite City is located before security control and is named after an affectionate term for Aberdeen. The pub will retain its name but undergo a refurbishment and menu refresh in the coming months. Nick Ayerst, managing director of TRG Concessions, said: “The Granite City is the perfect addition to our portfolio and our refurbishment will enhance the mix of catering available for passengers at Aberdeen International Airport. We look forward to welcoming our new team members into the business and investing in them and the site over the coming months. Being the only caterer on-site brings with it a greater responsibility to the airport and all its passengers. Our expanded team will work closely with the airport team to meet that challenge in the same way we have collaborated to overcome other challenges since 2009.”
Marston’s to invest £8m in Burton brewery, jobs at risk at Bedford site: Marston’s is to invest £8m in new canning and bottling lines at its brewery in Burton-on-Trent. The company stated: “As a result of this, the company is entering into a consultation period with approximately 35 to 45 employees at the Eagle Brewery in Bedford, where a similar production function is situated. Those people affected by this have been notified.” Marston’s acquired Charles Wells’ brewery in Bedford and brand sales interests for a cash consideration of £55m plus working capital adjustments in May last year. Marston’s recently relaunched the facility as Eagle Brewery.
Germany-based Italian-American fast food concept Tellys TST lodges plans for first UK site, in Sutton: Germany-based Italian-American fast food concept Tellys TST has lodged plans for its first UK site. The company, which operates restaurants in three German cities, is looking to make its UK debut in Sutton, Surrey. Tellys TST, through RLC Food, has applied to Sutton Council to convert a site in High Street. The application states: “Tellys TST wants to be on every high street in years to come but the picture on the wall will say first opened in Sutton 2018 – we hope.” Tellys TST serves Italian-American-influenced pasta with natural ingredients. Aside from “premium pasta”, it also offers salads, soup and coffee. Its menu has been designed by German chef and author Christian Rach, who received his first Michelin star in 1991. The application states the restaurant would be open from 7am to 7pm, reports Your Local Guardian.
Tonkotsu to open seventh London site, at Battersea Power Station development: London-based ramen specialist Tonkotsu is to open its seventh London site – and eighth in total – at the new Battersea Power Station development. Founders Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds will open the venue at Arch 755 on Monday, 19 February. It will have seating for 26 inside and a further 26 outside on the terrace, as well as having takeaway and delivery options, reports Hot Dinners. Tonkotsu, which is named after a creamy ramen typical in Kyushu, Japan’s southern-most island, has standalone sites in the capital in Mare Street, Soho, Dunston Street, Bankside, and Notting Hill. It also has concessions at Selfridges stores in Oxford Street in London and The Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham.
Chef Bryn Williams to open first central London restaurant: Chef Bryn Williams is to open his first central London restaurant, in Somerset House. Bryn Williams At Somerset House will “celebrate modern British dining and the very best of Welsh produce, with fruit and vegetables taking centre stage”. The restaurant will open this spring in the south wing of the arts and cultural centre in the Strand. The menu will feature small plates, seasonal mains and dishes “from the grill”. In a continuation of the veg-centric theme, a range of salads will also be on offer alongside “fruit-heavy” desserts. The decor will unite the building’s naval history and Georgian architecture with Williams’ Welsh roots. The space will also house a draught beer bar, the only one in Somerset House. Williams said: “I’m a firm believer that a piece of fruit or veg should be treated with the same amount of care and respect as a cut of meat or fillet of fish – if not more. I’m thrilled to be opening a new restaurant that is not only in a stunning location but where fresh, locally sourced produce is the focus, and fruit and veg take centre stage.” Williams is chef patron of Odette’s in Primrose Hill and Bryn Williams At Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. He is also set to open a restaurant at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium in north London. Before going it alone, Williams worked under Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux, and appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu programme.
Dirty Martini reveals further details of Birmingham city centre opening: Cocktail bar group Dirty Martini, which is owned by CG Restaurants & Bars, has revealed more details of the venue it will open in Birmingham city centre this spring. The bar will open in Bennetts Hill in April following the £1m refurbishment of a grade II-listed former banking hall that previously housed Viva Brazil. Dirty Martini Birmingham will have a capacity of 330 split over two floors, plus an upper mezzanine for up to 20 people and a variety of large booths, banquettes and spaces for private parties. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays the bar will be open until 2.30am, with DJs at weekends. CG Restaurants & Bars chief executive Scott Matthews told the Birmingham Mail: “Birmingham city centre is going through a time of exciting development and growth. We’re looking forward to opening our doors in Bennetts Hill.” Dirty Martini operates seven sites in London, with others in Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester. CG Restaurants & Bars reported Dirty Martini produced a 10.8% uplift in like-for-like sales in December, with sales at its new sites in Manchester and Leeds “exceptionally strong”, achieving a 28% uplift on budget.
Former Callooh Callay pair to launch ‘social club’ cocktail bar in east London, plan further UK venues: Simon Thompson and Jake O’Brien Murphy, who previously worked together at cocktail bar Callooh Callay, are to launch Horatio Street Social Club in east London with plans for further sites across the UK later this year. The first “social club” cocktail bar will open on Thursday, 15 February in the basement of The Nelson’s Head in Horatio Street. Horatio Street Social Club will be an “intimate space” where guests can sit on stools at the bar or at one of the low-slung tables. There will be low lighting, artwork on the walls and a playlist of “eclectic, upbeat tunes”. A menu of house cocktails such as Naïve Melody, which consists of Campari, white wine and kola nut cordial, will change regularly. They will sit alongside classic cocktails, beer and wine. The look of the physical menu will change monthly, with new artwork inspired by a randomly picked theme.
Vapiano opens Glasgow restaurant for second site in Scotland: Vapiano has opened a site in Glasgow for its second venue in Scotland, creating 55 jobs. The company has opened the venue in Buchanan Street on the site of the former George Hotel having previously taken a 25-year lease. The 293-capacity restaurant has long oak tables that feature their own herb garden, where guests can pick fresh herbs to garnish their dishes, while the two-floor premises also includes a bar. There is also a nod to Turin, which is twinned with Glasgow, via a wall-length art installation that details the Italian city’s skyline. Managing director Phil Sermon said: “When we were looking at locations for restaurants, Glasgow looked ideal. Its vibrant social scene provides the perfect backdrop for Vapiano.” The company has developed a portfolio of 205 restaurants in 35 countries across five continents. The Glasgow venue is its fifth in the UK, with two outlets in London and one each in Manchester and Edinburgh.
Venezuelan street food trader Petare to open first permanent site, in Pop Brixton: Venezuelan street food trader Petare is to open its first permanent site, in Pop Brixton. The concept will open in the unit recently vacated by Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen on Friday, 16 February offering a short menu focused on arepas (Venezuelan corn bread stuffed with meat, vegetarian and vegan fillings), including a masa-fried chicken arepa and a Venezuelan chip butty. The family-run business was launched in 2014 with the aim of bringing authentic Venezuelan street food to a London audience. Having run pop-ups at Street Feast and Kerb, Pop Brixton will be the first permanent space for Petare. Co-founder Rotsen Ibarra said: “We are incredibly grateful to Pop Brixton for giving us the opportunity to launch our first full-time venture. Having received positive feedback from Londoners at events across the city, we’re looking forward to bringing our Venezuelan food to a new audience in Brixton.”
Bath Ales strengthens team as new brewery nears completion: Bath Ales, which is owned by Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery, has strengthened its team as its new multimillion-pound brewery nears completion. The Hare Brewery, which is being built at Bath Ales’ headquarters in Warmley, is now close to commission with a “first brew” date set for Wednesday, 14 March. The project, which is on track to open in mid-May, will double the company’s brewing capacity. The four-vessel brewhouse will have capacity to produce more than 50,000 brewers’ barrels of beer. Meanwhile, Roger Ryman, who oversees brewing and production at Bath Ales and St Austell Brewery, has strengthened the company’s core brewing and beer quality team. Bath Ales brewer Gerry Condell, who has been with the company for more than 15 years, has been appointed to the newly created role of trade quality brewer. Mick Stawniczy, meanwhile, has transferred from St Austell to become Bath Ales’ site operations manager and will head up production at the new brewery.
Filmore & Union partners with Trail as it looks to streamline systems: Healthy eating cafe and restaurant company Filmore & Union has partnered with operations management app Trail as it streamlines its systems. The agreement sees Filmore & Union introduce Trail’s checklist platform to all its 15 sites as the business looks to increase efficiency across its growing estate and free team members’ time to focus on customers. Trail’s platform, which can be integrated with EPOS, rotas and other digital systems, gives a step-by-step list of daily tasks to help operators maintain standards and best practice across multiple sites. Filmore & Union operations manager Laura Peaden said: “Our team members have really embraced the technology as it’s easy to use and fundamentally makes their lives easier, giving them more time to focus on creating exceptional customer experiences.” Trail co-founder and managing director Joe Cripps added: “The industry is facing a series of headwinds and will increasingly look to technology to understand how it can help. Regardless of what happens with Brexit, the churn rate of workers within the industry as well as health and safety compliance will be two issues that will continue to be front and centre for operators. We’re looking forward to helping businesses tackle this in 2018.” Trail’s other customers include Ei Group, Deliveroo, Bill’s and New World Trading Company.
Ivy Collection opens Blackheath cafe: The Ivy Collection, owned by Caprice Holdings, has opened a site in Blackheath, south east London. The 87-cover Ivy Cafe has launched in Montpelier Vale featuring a 20-cover Parisian-style terrace overlooking Greenwich Park, Hot Dinners reports. Ivy Cafes offer contemporary British food and afternoon tea. Last month, The Ivy Collection opened brasseries in Cheltenham, York and King’s Cross, with further openings lined up this year in Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Dublin, Guildford, Leeds and Winchester. The other Ivy Cafes are in Marylebone, Richmond, St John’s Wood and Wimbledon. Earlier this week, Ivy Collection acquired a Brasserie Blanc site in St Albans.
Kained Holdings to turn Glasgow bar Drugstore Social into events space: Glasgow-based operator Kained Holdings has closed its Drugstore Social bar to launch a private events space in its place. The Yorkhill venue was known for its health-conscious menu and herbal cocktails, as well as regular pop-up events. Kained Holdings said it plans to turn the building into a private hire space for events, meetings and team-building activities, reports Glasgow Live. A post on the bar’s Facebook page states: “Drugstore Social is pleased to announce it is closing to transform into a wonderful social events space available for exclusive private hire, meetings and team-building events.” Drugstore Social staff will be redeployed to some of the company’s other eight sites in the city.
Birmingham-based dessert parlour Jam Jar opens second site, in Coventry: Birmingham-based dessert parlour Jam Jar has opened its second site, in Coventry. The company has opened a 150-cover site in Corporation Street that also includes a secluded “hideaway” area for groups of about ten as well as outside seating. Jam Jar offers a selection of handcrafted waffles, crepes, sundaes and “back to school” favourites such as apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding and jam roly poly. As well as a range of tea and coffee, the restaurant also offers shakes served in glass jars and fruity mocktails. Manager Maj Khan told the Coventry Telegraph: “We think Jam Jar is a different brand compared with other dessert parlours.”
City District Group to open fourth Fazenda site and first in Scotland: City District Group is to open a fourth site – and first in Scotland – for its Brazilian rodizio restaurant brand Fazenda. Founders Robert Melman and Tomas Maunier will open the venue in George Street, Edinburgh, on Friday, 23 February. The restaurant will accommodate 175, with seating for 40 at the bar and a private dining room for eight. It will feature Brazilian touches throughout, including leather upholstery and traditional-style chandeliers. Guests will have grilled meat carved at the table accompanied by salad, sushi, smoked salmon and freshly cut vegetables. The wine list will focus on South America. Maunier told the Edinburgh Reporter: “Fazenda is inspired by the kind of restaurant you find in the top areas of São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. The experience is so versatile it allows everybody to enjoy it in their own way.” City District Group’s other Fazenda restaurants are in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, while it operates sister brand Picanha in Chester.
Nando’s and Five Guys to open at County Armagh shopping centre: Nando’s and better burger brand Five Guys have agreed deals to open sites at the Rushmere Shopping Centre in County Amargh, Northern Ireland. New units with a combined space of more than 7,000 square feet are being developed to accommodate the two restaurants before they open in the third quarter of this year. Nando’s, which currently has five outlets in Northern Ireland, is creating 40 jobs while Five Guys said it expected to employ 60 people. Five Guys vice-president for Ireland David Malanaphy told Armaghi: “We are delighted to be adding Rushmere to our expansion plans. Five Guys is one of America’s fastest-growing restaurant chains and has almost 1,500 stores worldwide, with another 1,500 in development.” Savills acted on behalf of Rushmere owner Central Craigavon while Lambert Smith Hampton represented Nando’s and Five Guys.
Michelin-starred hotel and restaurant in Derbyshire to launch wine room: Michelin-starred hotel and restaurant Fischer’s at Baslow Hall, which is in Bakewell, Derbyshire, is to launch a wine room. The room, designed and built by architect Bluecarrot, will open in early March featuring a temperature-controlled “wine wall”. The decor will also include traditional Georgian wall panelling finished in blue teal. Owner Max Fischer told Insider Media: “I have always loved good wine but it was only when I met the late John Wynne, of the Epworth Tap, about 35 years ago that I really began to develop my wine pallet. John’s knowledge of wine and his wine bar were famous in the north and further afield. John introduced me to many new aromas and flavours and helped me appreciate the subtle qualities of wine. I have been learning ever since and still feel I know little, but my passion for learning and discovering is as fresh as ever and I love to share that with others.”
West Sussex-based hospitality business signs £2.2m land deal for expansion: A family-run hospitality business near Chichester, West Sussex, has acquired 30 acres of land in a £2.2m deal that will aid further expansion. Crouchers Restaurant, Bar and Country Hotel in Birdham Road is run by Lloyd van Rooyen, Gavin Wilson and family, whose parents started the business with a six-room bed and breakfast in 1996. Now a 26-bedroom hotel and 80-cover restaurant employing 45 staff, the company plans to expand Crouchers following the land purchase from a neighbouring farm. Capitalising on the site’s countryside location on the Chichester Canal, close to the marina and some of the county’s best beaches, the plans include completing four luxury holiday cottages due to open in May, refurbishing informal cafe restaurant The Cider House, and establishing new kitchen gardens that will supply the hotel and restaurants. Jamie Ward, senior relationship manager at Allied Irish Bank (GB), which backed the deal, told Insider Media: “Lloyd’s family and their management team have built a fantastic business at Crouchers and gained a well-deserved reputation for top-quality service and hospitality. The acquisition of this neighbouring parcel of land provides the business with enormous potential for growth.” Van Rooyen added: “We’re embarking on a new chapter for Crouchers and we’re very excited about the future.”