BrewDog has 20 new bars in construction: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has 20 new bars in various stages of construction around the world. The company is currently working on openings in the UK, in Plymouth, Exeter, Manchester (Font Street), Chelmsford, Basingstoke, Bath, Ealing, Headingley, Huddersfield, Bradford, Lincoln and Belfast. Propel revealed last week that the company was to extend its franchise agreement with smokehouse brand Red’s True Barbecue to four further sites. The two groups that first teamed up at the BrewDog site in Call Lane, Leeds, will open new sites over the coming months in Headingley, Lincoln, Huddersfield and Bradford. In terms of international openings, the company plans to open in Cleveland (US), Shanghai, Frankfurt, Bangalore, Wiesbaden, Mumbai and a second site in Paris. Co-founder James Watt said: “Feels like a crazy time to be expanding but we currently have 20 brand new bars at various stages of construction. These bars will all be carbon negative and will create more than 400 new jobs at a time when job creation is badly needed all over the world.”
Tonkotsu to hit dozen in London with Walthamstow site: Ramen restaurant group Tonkotsu is to add to its presence in London by opening a site in Walthamstow. The company will launch the venue in Hoe Street in late November and will mark its 12th outlet in the capital. Tonkotsu will be replacing its traditional “£5 ramen soft launch” with a new online lottery. Anyone who registers with Tonkotsu will receive a £5 voucher to use at the restaurant within the first three weeks of opening, plus 30 people will be picked at random to receive a £50 voucher. The Walthamstow site will offer the brand’s signature ramen bowls alongside gyoza and its chicken kara-age. The drinks list will feature a sake made specially for the restaurant by the Tsuji Brewery in Okayama, and a new Minkan Shimoda Pale Ale made in collaboration with Thornbridge. There will also be beer from Walthamstow’s own Signature Brew as well as Japanese whiskey, wine, cocktails, low-alcohol options, soft drinks and tea. Tonkotsu was launched in Soho in 2012 by Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds. As well as its London sites it also operates a concession within Selfridges in Birmingham.
Herman ze German permanently closes its UK sites: Sausage specialist Herman ze German has announced it will permanently close its four London sites due to the impact of covid-19 and Brexit. After launching in 2008, the group, founded by Azadeh Falakshahi and Florian Frey, expanded to include sites in Charing Cross, White City, Soho, Fitzrovia and Birmingham, as well as one site and a food truck in Germany. The company sold its site at Grand Central in Birmingham to Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew earlier this summer while Propel has revealed Neat Burger is set to take on its Soho site in Old Compton Street, Soho. In a post on Instagram, Herman ze German said: “Sadly, we have to announce that after more than ten wonderful years in London, Herman ze German will permanently close all London locations. Covid-19 has hit us really hard, as it probably has most of you too. Knowing that Brexit will follow at the end of this year, we had no other choice but to pull the plug. There is no way for us to go any further with the restaurants in the UK. We are extremely gutted as we put our heart and soul into this project, delivering you our delicious currywurst and German beer. And we loved it. Many thanks for supporting us for so many years.”
Knoops appoints ex-Whittard of Chelsea boss Mark Dunhill to board: Hot chocolate shop Knoops has appointed former Whittard of Chelsea chief executive Mark Dunhill to its board. Dunhill has been working with the Knoops team for some time as it expands in London, with the flagship Kensington store due to open on Friday, 23 October, following its opening in Clapham Junction earlier this year. He said: “Consumers’ expectations for authentic, distinctive and memorable experiences continue to evolve in the premium food and beverage arena. This provides Knoops with a great opportunity to establish itself as the destination for the most varied and satisfying chocolate drink experience – offline and online. I am delighted to have the opportunity to support the Knoops board and management in its efforts to grow the Knoops brand in both the UK and international markets over time.” Knoops founder Jens Knoop added: “Mark brings amazing experience and knowledge that will allow us to grow, while maintaining the wonderful relationships we have developed with our customers, growers and suppliers. The whole team is very excited to have him on board.” Knoops is known for its cafes that serve 21 varieties of hot chocolate and its milkshakes. It also has an online offer of hot chocolate flakes, as well as its hot chocolate maker, the “Knoopifier” that allows customers to replicate the Knoops experience at home, which has led to substantial growth for the brand during lock-down, and an increase in its production capacity in Rye, East Sussex, where the original store was founded in 2013.
New Czech beer hub concept Pivo to open in Clerkenwell: Pivo, a new bar dedicated to showcases Czech beer, is to open in London’s Clerkenwell. The brainchild of Filip Celadnik, the new bar will open on the former Grind site at 2-4 Old Street. The new venture says it will be “bringing some of the best breweries that the Czech Republic has to offer to the masses in London” when it opens later this year. The ground floor will house a Czech beer pub, with a meeting room in the basement for business meetings, beer education events and private parties. Sammy Weinbaum at CDG Leisure acted on the Old Street deal.
Black and White Hospitality signs deal for Marco’s New York Italian site in Blackpool: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to restaurant brands belonging to Marco Pierre White, has confirmed it will open a Marco’s New York Italian at the new Holiday Inn Blackpool Hotel. The deal has been signed between Black and White, Holiday Inn, Blackpool Council, Muse Developments and hotel management company RBH. The restaurant opening at the Holiday Inn was first mooted in 2018. The four-star hotel is scheduled to open in summer 2022 as part of the Talbot Gateway central business district revamp that will include retail units, improved public transport links and a new tram terminal. The hotel will have 144 bedrooms and, with the introduction of White’s restaurant, up to 50 jobs will be created. The total investment in the second phase of the Talbot Gateway scheme is £34.6m. Black and White Hospitality chairman and chief executive Nick Taplin said: “This New York Italian is perfect for Blackpool. It represents friendly, casual dining and will give locals and visitors a great new place to go out and eat. It’s not pretentious, it’s just good food, served in a great environment. The New York Italian fits perfectly with the Holiday Inn and we already have a number of hugely successful restaurants trading under this popular hotel brand.” Marco’s New York Italian is inspired by the restaurateur’s Italian heritage and love for the hustle and bustle of New York. Cllr Mark Smith of Blackpool Council added: “We’re delighted to welcome the Holiday Inn and Marco Pierre White brands to. It raises the bar in terms of what people can come to expect from Blackpool’s leisure offer.”
Anna Tobias to open Bloomsbury restaurant and wine bar in November: Chef Anna Tobias, formerly of River Cafe and Rochelle Canteen, will launch her debut site – Cafe Deco Bloomsbury – in November. The wine bar and restaurant will be located at The Bedford Estate’s Store Street Bloomsbury. Tobias is partnering with the team from 40 Maltby Street to offer “full lunch with a couple bottles of wine” or an omelette, slice of quiche and a single glass. There will also be a “larger focus on takeaway than initially thought: sandwiches, a pork pie, for the students, and business people.” Cafe Deco will also be licensed for off-sales. Tobias said: “I am excited to be opening my first restaurant. It’s an area with such great character. I will be cooking quite classic European food that aims to be simple and delicious. A lightness of touch and respect for produce is something I always try to bring to my food.” Other food and beverage choices at the scheme include Store Street Espresso coffee shop, which has opened other stores elsewhere following success on the street; The Life Goddess; Olivelli’s and Macellaio RC. Cafe Deco was originally due to open before summer.
Former Blanchette head chef opens artisan bakery in Cotswolds: Will Alexander, former head chef at Blanchette in London’s Soho, has opened his debut site. Alexander has launched Otis & Belle – an artisan bakery, shop and cafe in Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds. Named after his children, Otis & Anabelle, the venue in Old Market Way is a modern take on the classic British high street bakery. It occupies a prime retail location at the entrance to the historic market town’s Old Market Way arcade. Alexander has taken inspiration from his French patisserie training to inform Otis & Belle’s menu. Alexander studied classic French patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu London in 2011, which led to his pastry chef position at Chelsea’s Bibendum restaurant. He, ultimately, became Bibendum Oyster Bar’s sous chef in 2013, before following his mentor Tam Storrar to Blanchette in Soho. Storrar opened the French bistro in 2013 and Alexander rose to become head chef. Alexander said: “Since I studied at Le Cordon Bleu, I’ve always had this romantic idea of opening my own little bakery in the countryside.”
Middle East restaurateur to launch Pan-Pacific concept in Notting Hill: Markus Thesleff, who is behind Middle East ventures including Okku and Claw, is to launch his Pan-Pacific restaurant and bar concept in London. Thesleff will open Los Mochis in Notting Hill next month, which will mix “Mexican spirit with Japanese elegance”. The site in Farmer Street will house a ground-floor dining room and first-floor lounge. The menu will feature tacos alongside ceviche, tostadas, tiraditos and quesadillas as well as breakfast options. Meanwhile, there will be a range of cocktails as well as tequila and a mezcal tasting flight. Los Mochis’ “Gives Back” project will see the restaurant provide a meal for the less fortunate and vulnerable for every one purchased by a guest.
Truman’s brewery to open the UK’s largest beer hall: Truman’s is to open what it says will be the UK’s largest beer hall at the end of this month in east London. Truman’s Social Club will open just off Blackhorse Lane in Walthamstow where Truman’s currently has its headquarters. The 26,000 square foot venue will have capacity for 700 and will also be home to street food traders, markets showcasing local makers and an events line-up. The beer hall will feature 20 brews on its taps from Truman’s and from guest breweries.
Cheeky Burger secures first permanent site: Cheeky Burger has acquired its first permanent site on 5 Camberwell Church Street in south east London. Run by a husband and wife team Sebastien and Marta Lambot, Cheeky Burger has already catered for crowds at some of the biggest festivals and sporting events in UK, London markets, and pop-ups, and has previously won at the British Street Food Awards in the “Best Burger” category. Marta Lambot said: “After many years of street food trading, we are very excited to finally get the keys to our first brick and mortar restaurant, especially in such a vibrant location as Camberwell. The fit-out of the site will be done by acclaimed Kitsch and Sink Design Studio.” A new lease was agreed on the 1,257 square foot premises, through Davis Coffer Lyons on behalf of the landlord. Louie Gazdar of Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Cheeky Burger has proved a popular addition to the street food scene and will now service the large student population and local residents of Camberwell. This shows the buoyancy of London’s neighbourhoods and villages as many operators look to take advantage of more people working from home and drinking and dining locally.’’
Whitbread gets active with three Premier Inn sites in national parks in £20m investment: Whitbread-owned Premier Inn has committed to three new sites in Britain’s national parks as it continues to expand its network. The hotels at Keswick in the Lake District, St Davids in Pembrokeshire and Porthmadog in Snowdonia, will add 214 rooms in destinations for holidays and short breaks where the company does not yet have a presence. Together, the three hotels are expected to create about 80 jobs and represent a combined £20m investment by Whitbread. Alex Flach, UK development director for Premier Inn, said: “About half of all Premier Inn guests stayed with us on leisure breaks last year. It’s an important part of our business and we are continually reviewing our network of hotels to ensure we are represented in popular leisure destinations across the UK and Ireland where our customers want us to be. We’re continuing to grow Premier Inn in popular leisure-focused locations where we don’t yet have a presence and are looking for opportunities in and around national parks and in popular tourist destinations across the country.” Work is scheduled to start on the hotels in St Davids and Porthmadog before Christmas and the development of Premier Inn’s first hotel in the Lake District National Park at Keswick is expected to begin in spring 2021.
Ropes & Twines to open hidden basement wine bar: Liverpool-based coffee shop and wine bar Ropes & Twines is opening a basement bar. The hidden bar in Bold Street will be open before Christmas and will invite small group bookings for wine tastings. Each booking will include a meat and cheese board with a selection of bread, olives and dips to complement the wine – which can be tailored to include a selection of five tastings of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines from around the world. Ropes & Twines general manager Allison Whorton said: “We know Christmas parties and celebrations will be different this year so we wanted to give office teams and groups of friends and family the chance to celebrate in a more intimate setting.”
Mr Ji to reopen with new menu and décor as it moves to table service format:Taiwanese-inspired chicken concept Mr Ji will reopen in November after a refurbishment and with a new menu. The Soho restaurant founded by Samuel Haim has teamed up with Ta Ta Eatery and Tou duo Ana Goncalves and Zijun Meng to work on the menu revamp while the space has been altered from a grab-and-go diner to a “buzzy restaurant with table service”. Taking ideas from Taiwanese canteens for the daytime offer and stripped-back bars for the evening, Mr Ji will give customers a more refined experience from an expanded menu centred around fried chicken plus a new cocktail menu. The fried chicken offer now draws on Goncalves’ and Meng’s innovative flavour combinations and modern techniques. Haim said: “Having been forced to close for lock-down, I was more determined than ever to bring the lively evening vibe back to Soho once I could open Mr Ji again. After many evenings at Ta Ta Eatery with Ana and Meng, we decided to work together to make Mr Ji a place where guests can sit down and get stuck in to dinner with friends, in a space that has a real buzz just like the Taiwanese spots I fell in love with on my travels.” Goncalves added: “Meng and I we’re really excited to be working with him so closely on this project. Mr Ji is definitely going to be our go-to Soho spot for a drink and a fried chicken fix.”
North Yorkshire restaurant and inn goes into liquidation: North Yorkshire restaurant and inn, the General Tarleton in Ferrensby near Boroughbridge, has been placed into creditors voluntary liquidation after a period of closure forced on it by the conronavirus pandemic. Joint liquidators Julian Pitts and Richard Kenworthy, of Begbies Traynor, were appointed on 30 September. Kenworthy said: “Like so many hospitality businesses, the forced closure triggered by the pandemic has been absolutely devastating to the General Tarleton. Its owners, including chef John Topham, had no choice but to put the business into liquidation. With more months of uncertainty ahead and the likelihood of continued restrictions on the operation of hospitality businesses, its closure is an unfortunate cost of the health measures implemented to help combat the pandemic.” The business employed 12 staff before lock-down in March, with all staff made redundant during the closure. Assets of the business will be sold by the joint liquidators to realise funds for the benefit of the creditors, which include HMRC and trade suppliers. The 18th century coaching inn, from which the business traded, was not owned by the company, but leased.
North west hotel and country club put up for sale after going into administration: North west hotel and country club, Bredbury Hall, has been put up for sale after going into administration, with 91 of its 93 staff made redundant. Anthony Collier and Ben Woolrych, of FRP, have been appointed joint administrators to Newco Ventures, which trades the Bredbury Hall Hotel and Country Club. Bredbury Hall is a 148-room, three-star hotel in the Goyt Valley, near Stockport. The hotel comprises dining facilities, a fitness centre and a 16th century barn that has been converted into a nightclub. The hotel has been closed since March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with most staff placed on furlough. Prior to closure the hotel experienced trading difficulties, which resulted in increased creditor arrears and financial pressure. As a result of these inherent pressures, the hotel was unable to reopen after lock-down restrictions were eased and an appointment of administrators was made. Collier said: “As trading operations have already ceased, we will be taking steps to market the hotel for sale in its current form.” In January 2019, it was announced Bredbury Hall had been saved through a multimillion-pound refinancing deal. It had been bought out of administration four years prior to this by Bangladesh businessman Golam Sarwar, who owns the five-star Hotel Sarina in Dhaka.
Game of Thrones studio tour secures £3.5m funding: Linen Mill Studios has secured £3.5m of funding towards the cost of its Game of Thrones studio tour attraction in Northern Ireland. As reported at the start of September, planning approval was granted for the site in Banbridge from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council for the project that will celebrate the popular TV series. The funding has been made available through Whiterock Finance’s Growth Finance Fund (£2m) and Growth Loan Fund II (£1.5m). Much of the show was filmed at Linen Mill Studios between 2011 and 2019, and the £24m complex is expected to attract 600,000 tourists per year while generating circa £400m during a ten-year period. Linen Mill Studios director Andrew Webb said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from Whiterock. Momentum is now gathering towards the creation of one of the most exciting visitor attractions in Northern Ireland’s history, one that will draw thousands of visitors from near and far, provide a host of direct and indirect jobs and underpin Northern Ireland’s economy at a crucial time. The Game of Thrones Studio Tour has already generated huge excitement and interest among fans around the world and we expect it to play a significant part in rejuvenating the tourism sector on the island of Ireland in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.” The site will feature original sets, props and costumes used in the filming of the fantasy TV series.
Roadchef achieves Investors in People gold award and shortlisted for employee welfare accolades: Motorway services operator Roadchef has received the “gold” accreditation from Investors in People (IIP), and been shortlisted for its employee welfare initiatives at the UK Social Mobility Awards, Employer Benefits Awards and the Engage Awards. IIP gold accreditation means Roadchef has a robust and widespread set of policies in place to ensure every employee gets the right support to reach their potential. Roadchef also made the final stages of the UK Social Mobility Awards, having impressed with its new Leadership Highway Programme. The new initiative was introduced into the business to strengthen the employee development portfolio, enabling employees to take ownership of enhancing and shaping their personal skills. Roadchef has entered the final stages of the Employer Benefits Awards, having entered its new engagement and retention strategy that provides a stronger employee well-being offering for its workforce of more than 3,000 people. The business is also being considered for the best employee support strategy during a crisis award as part of the Engage Awards 2020.
Vimto extends Starslush promotion to support operators through Halloween and Christmas: Vimto Out of Home is extending its biggest Starslush promotion – “Slurpers vs Scoopers” – to support the out-of-home sector throughout Halloween and Christmas. Promoted on the cup and via POS in venue, the activation is designed to help operators drive their frozen drinks sales during two of the year’s biggest consumer-spending occasions. The promotion supports Starslush’s new range of paper cups, and paper spoon straws, to reduce plastic waste. “Slurpers vs Scoopers” gives consumers the chance to win prizes daily. To enter, customers simply scan the QR code on their Starslush cup and answer the question: “Are you a slurper or a scooper?” Vimto Out of Home brand manager Becky Woodhall said: “Slurpers vs Scoopers taps into the rise in gamification and the fact people love a bit of healthy rivalry.”