Iqbal Wahhab plans Atticus opening in February: Cinnamon Club founder plans new opening on February: Iqbal Wahhab, founder of the Cinnamon Club and Roast, is to open a Southern US-style eatery called Atticus in February, which he hopes to expand into a nationwide chain. Atticus will specialise in “soul food”, Southern US staples such as barbecued meats, fried chicken, pork ribs, stews and macaroni. The food will be sourced from sustainable British farms. It is thought that customers on average will spend £10 for breakfast, £25 for lunch and £35 for dinner. Wahhab and his backers expect to spend £1.5 million on the development and opening Atticus. The bar and restaurant, which is named after Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird, will be based in Angel, north London. Wahhab said that if it proves to be successful, he will look to expand Atticus into a chain of restaurants. Wahhab added that he wants the restaurant to provide opportunities for disadvantaged people such as ex-offenders. To that end, he has partnered with Bounce Back, which helps ex-offenders with training and finding work. The charity supplied people to paint and decorate the new restaurant.
Michelin-starred chef scraps Salford restaurant plan: Michelin-starred chef Tim Allen has revealed his plans for a Salford restaurant have been scrapped. Allen had been working on a new restaurant concept inside the City Suites luxury apartment hotel development on Chapel Street, earmarked for a 2018 launch. But the chef confirmed on his social media accounts last week that “Manchester is no more unfortunately”. Allen, who held the prestigious Michelin Star during his tenure at Launceston Place in London and Wild Rabbit in Kingham, had been announced earlier this year as the executive director of food and beverage at Select Property Group, which owns City Suites. There had been plans to open the restaurant in the downstairs corner unit of the high rise block, which would have its own separate on-street entrance to diners. But a joint statement said: “The economics of this operation do not work for either party .We have been working with chef Tim Allen for the last three months on a new restaurant concept in Manchester. After full and careful joint consideration we have concluded that the economics of this operation do not work for either party. We thank Tim for his extremely valuable contribution to the project during his time with us and we wish him every success in all his future endeavors.”
Smooy to open pop-up site at Intu Metrocentre: International frozen yogurt retailer Smooy, which has more than 150 stores, is to expand by opening its first north east pop-up store at Intu Metrocentre. The brand uses natural yogurt that’s low in fat, high in fibre and gluten free, and offers customers over 30 toppings to choose from. Fran Hernández Gómez, marketing and communications director at Smöoy, said: “We have more than 150 stores across the world, but opening our first store at Intu Metrocentre will allow us to reach a high footfall of customers across the north east for the first time. The centre is the perfect place for us to introduce our brand, and we can’t wait to make customers smile as they take a scoop out of our tasty treat.” Kate Grant, regional managing director, Intu, said: “We’re excited to see another international retailer choosing to expand with Intu as it launches its first pop-up store in the north east. We’re seeing more and more overseas brands use Intu to enter the UK market, and pop-up stores are a great way to give them a chance to raise their brand profile, while customers engage with their brand in an innovative way.”
Oakman Inns lines up £1.7m investment in Buckinghamshire pub: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has tabled plans for a £1.7m refurbishment of the historic Polecat Inn in Prestwood, Buckinghamshire. The company wants to demolish the current restaurant extension and replace it with a new one, while also making changes to the car park and internal alterations so disabled toilets and baby-changing areas can be added. The company says the “well-liked” pub suffers with a “lack of good kitchen space and storage and the number of covers available is not sustainable for the business”. Their plans include a new “contemporary” building which will be linked to the main pub with glass and a new re-sited car park – to replace the currently “inadequate” one – nearer to the main entrance. Oakman Inns chief executive Peter Borg-Neal said: “CAMRA suggested that the UK loses around 21 pubs every week, largely because they cannot expand, develop or provide what customers want in the 21st Century. Our investment would create 40 jobs, generate an increase for the council in business rates and help to drive the local economy from additional visitors. The current owners, Mr and Mrs Whitehouse, are convinced that The Polecat must expand, and it has to grow regarding the breadth of its offer and the number of customers it can accommodate.”
Michelin-stared chef aims to expand with new site in Ilfracombe, turns to Kickstarter: A Michelin-starred chef has begun a small-scale crowdfunding appeal on Kickstarter to bring a new restaurant to Ilfracombe High Street. Thomas Carr of The Olive Room, together with his brother Kevin and friend Richard Evans, hope to take over the old Lamb Hotel premises to open a new Seafood and Grill restaurant. Carr said: “Every business needs money to begin with, and there are a number of ways to get that. We wanted to find the most effective way, as we have some great ideas for the business and also want to keep the costs to the customers as low as possible. We thought Ilfracombe, and North Devon, would be the ideal place to crowdfund as there is such a great crowd to fund from.” Carr gained Ilfracombe’s first Michelin star for The Olive Room in 2016 and retained it this year, as well as adding three AA rosettes to his collection. Kevin Carr is a world record holder for the fastest time running around the world, while Rich Evans co-founded North Devon marketing agency BlueFrog Media. If successful, the restaurant hopes to be open as early as February or March this year. The Kickstarter campaign aims to raise £15,000 – just over £5,000 has been pledged so far by 51 investors.
Williams Bros eyes expansion to become Scotland’s second largest craft brewer: One of Scotland’s best-known craft brewers has outlined plans to build a new facility in Alloa, which will future-proof it for the next two decades. Williams Bros hopes to build a brewery capable of producing up to 200,000 hectolitres annually on a greenfield site near its current base in the Clackmannanshire town. In terms of scale of Scottish craft beer production, it would be second only to BrewDog’s one million hectolitre site in Ellon. The plans also include canning and bottling lines which could be contracted out to smaller brewers. “It will cost an awful lot of money but it will give us 20 years of security in terms of production capability, new machinery and efficiencies,” said Scott Williams. Williams, who established the brewer with his brother Bruce in 1992 as an offshoot of the family home brewing business, said the development was being undertaken in two stages. Funding is in place, a site has been identified and discussions are underway with the council for acquiring the land. In the meantime, the current site will double in capacity to more than 100,000 hectolitres, which Williams said, would allow for a seamless transition to the new site.
Mitchells & Butlers to convert business park Harvester to Miller & Carter brand: Mitchells & Butlers is to convert a Harvester site at a business park, Centrum 100 Business Park, in Branston, Burton-upon-Trent into its premium Miller & Carter brand in spring this year. A spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers said: “From time to time we review our estate and take the decision to convert a business to another of our successful brands. We are planning to convert the Harvester Centrum to a Miller & Carter Steakhouse in spring 2018. All of the current team will be offered job opportunities with the new restaurant.” The nearest current Miller & Carter Steakhouse is just off the A52 in Wollaton, in Nottingham. The Branston site sites directly across from a Toby Carvery.
Modern crêperie concept to open in Spitalfields Artillery Passage: L’Ami Malo, a modern crêperie and bar inspired by Breton flavours and the small town of St Malo in north west France and the brainchild of co-founders Emilien Lesourd and Vincent Couvreur, will open on 31 January on Spitalfields’ Artillery Passage, near Liverpool Street. Head chef Williams Guillemot, formerly of Clos Maggiore, has created a variety of sweet and savoury dishes with choices such as ‘maki’-style rolls of Bayonne ham with Comté cheese, tomato tartare, roasted hazelnuts and baby spinach; and galettes featuring confit duck leg with caramelised pear and red wine jus. Sweet crêpes come with fillings from classic lemon and sugar to apple compote, butter sauce and salted caramel. Prices range from £5 to £15 for a crêpe/galette. The 1,140 sq ft, 54-cover restaurant and bar is split over two floors (30 upstairs, 24 downstairs) has been designed by ADMerlin Design Studio. Lesourd said: “We’ve taken a fantastic site in bustling Artillery Passage, moments from Liverpool Street, with excellent footfall. We can’t wait to show Londoners our contemporary take on a traditional crêperie. We hope they’ll get a sense of all the love and passion we have put into L’Ami Malo.”
Yum China expands Taco Bell footprint: Yum China Holdings has opened two new Taco Bell restaurants in Shanghai, China. Following the successful opening of the first Taco Bell restaurant in China earlier this year in Shanghai’s Lujiazui area, Yum China has opened a new Taco Bell restaurant in a premium shopping mall in Wu Jiao Chang, close to some of Shanghai’s top universities, and opened a restaurant in Feng Sheng Li, a popular shopping precinct. “The response to our first Taco Bell store in Shanghai has been fantastic, and we are very excited to introduce two more unique restaurants to the city,” said Micky Pant, chief executive of Yum China. “The new restaurants integrate Taco Bell’s signature brand and spirit into the local community, and bring both classic menu items and original recipes to cater to Chinese customers.” In keeping with the “Live Mas” spirit of exploration and innovation, the Taco Bell restaurants will introduce a new dinner menu, exclusive to China, as well as a range of freshly grilled menu items. The two new Taco Bell restaurants in Shanghai will also introduce a new service model, with orders delivered directly to designated tables. “Bringing the Taco Bell experience to more customers globally in locally relevant ways is key to our continued growth,” said Brian Niccol, chief executive officer of Taco Bell Corp. “These new restaurants have truly blended the Taco Bell brand within their communities through locally designed restaurants and customised food and service options. We are delighted to see the reception to Taco Bell in China and look forward to bringing the ‘Live Mas’ spirit to more consumers across the country.”
McDonald’s warns customers against eating at 169 of its restaurants in India: McDonald’s is telling customers not to eat at more than 100 of its restaurants in India, saying the food doesn’t meet its standards for quality and safety. The company said there are “serious compliance risks” at 169 of its Indian restaurants that are operated by one of its franchise partners, Connaught Plaza Restaurants (CPRL), Quartz India reports. McDonald’s India has been locked in a bitter battle with CPRL for years. Four months ago, the company terminated its franchise agreement with CPRL. “Since the termination of the franchise agreement, McDonald’s India has not been able to verify if the unauthorised McDonald’s restaurants operated by CPRL in north and east India are complying with applicable McDonald’s standards, including those pertaining to supplies, operations and safety standards, and quality required for McDonald’s products,” a spokesman for McDonald’s India told Quartz. The warning from McDonald’s comes several days after dozens of CPRL’s restaurants were shut down due to a disagreement with a supplier. CPRL has promised to find a new supplier to reopen the outlets, but McDonald’s India says the restaurants need to be shut down permanently.
Beatnikz Republic plans new craft beer bar and street food kitchen: Manchester microbrewery Beatnikz Republic has revealed plans for a new city centre craft beer bar and street food kitchen. Founded as a roving operation in London, the brewery moved north to open its first permanent brewery under a railway arch on Red Bank last year. Now founder and head brewer Paul Greetham has announced he is to open a bar later this year. The venue will feature 14 keg lines evenly split between the brewery’s own beers and guest ales, served alongside quality cider, wine, spirits, soft drinks and coffee. There will also be a fresh food offering to look forward to every month as familiar names from the city’s street food scene take turns in the kitchen. Greetham said: “The popularity of street food has gone a bit crazy in the last few years. There are so many amazing, passionate people making really interesting food. The traders we have spoken to love the idea – they can have a permanent home for a month and people can come and have maybe Ghanaian street food one month and Italian the next. It keeps it fresh and interesting.” The bar will build on the offer at the brewery’s former on-site taproom, which hosted events including a doughnut-paired beer tasting before its closure around two months ago. “There was simply not enough space in the unit and because it was so cold, it wasn’t worthwhile coming into during winter,” added Greetham. “But over the summer it was really good fun and that has driven the bar idea.” The bar will be based in a 2,000 sq ft unit between Market Street and St Peter’s Square, with the exact location to be revealed soon. It is hoped it will be open in May or June 2018, with opening hours from 10am to midnight, licence permitting.