Rick Stein to open Marlborough restaurant next month: Celebrity chef Rick Stein will open his new restaurant in Marlborough on Saturday, 8 October. Work on the 100-cover venue at grade II-listed Lloran House in High Street has taken almost a year and Stein and son and group executive chef Jack Stein are putting the final touches to the menu. A number of Stein’s iconic seafood dishes will feature on the menu, alongside a nod to Wiltshire’s farming heritage. There will also be lunch and Sunday lunch menus. Rick Stein told the Gazette & Herald: “Marlborough is such a beautiful town in a wonderful part of the country and it’s incredibly exciting to be opening a restaurant here. As soon as I saw Lloran House I thought it would make the perfect restaurant and it’s now really taking shape. The team have all been working hard to make everything ready for opening and I know we’re all looking forward to welcoming the first customers through the door.” Stein operates a number of venues in Devon and Cornwall as well as restaurants in Sandbanks in Dorset, and Winchester in Hampshire. Earlier this year, he pulled out of plans to open a seafront restaurant in Eastbourne, East Sussex, blaming Brexit.




Daisy Green to open restaurant at Nova Victoria, seventh London site: Coffee shop chain Daisy Green, the Australian-inspired concept founded by Prue Freeman and Tom Onions, will open a restaurant at the Nova Victoria development on Tuesday, 1 November. The lunch and dinner menus at the new venue – called Timmy Green – will focus on prime, grass-fed meat and small plates. A massive side of prime lamb will be barbecued on a Josper oven and carved tableside, which will be served with miso mustard sauce and hand-cut, triple-cooked duck fat fries. Other dishes will include popcorn shrimp sandwiches and house-made dips with sticky sesame radishes. The venue will have room for 150 diners over two floors, plus an outdoor coffee bar and seating. Drinks will include cocktails and local craft beer, alongside a largely Australian wine list, Hot Dinners reports. Timmy Green will open daily from 7am until late, with a soft launch running from 20-27 October. Daisy Green operates six other venues in London – two in Broadgate and one each in Euston, Paddington, St George’s Fields, and Waterloo. The majority are based close to major train stations.




Bannatyne Group launches healthy eating cafe bar concept, trials new partnership with Starbucks: Bannatyne Group, led by Duncan Bannatyne, has launched its healthy eating cafe bar concept B-Fuelled ahead of plans to roll it out across its portfolio of clubs. Following a two-week, £80,000 refurbishment, the cafe bar and kitchen areas of the company’s York venue have been transformed with the installation of new food preparation equipment, furniture and design features to create an open modern space for members. All of the 28 dishes are made to order, 24 of which contain fewer than 500 calories. In addition, Bannatyne Group is using the York site to trial a new partnership with Starbucks. The company will closely monitor the success of B-Fuelled over the coming months before making the decision to roll-out the concept across more than 40 of its health clubs. Drew Brown, group head of food and beverage for the Bannatyne Group, told Insider Media: “York is the first B-Fuelled healthy cafe bar to launch and we’re really pleased with the result of the investment. We consulted our health club members and they overwhelmingly said they were interested in monitoring their nutrition intake to ensure they are eating healthily, so we have worked in conjunction with qualified nutritionists to create balanced meals using healthy and fresh ingredients.”




Ed’s Easy Diner opens first station site in partnership with SSP: Ed’s Easy Diner has opened its first station site in partnership with foodservice travel hub specialist SSP. The restaurant, which is on the upper concourse of Liverpool Street Station in London, is open daily from 7am to midnight. Ed’s Easy Diner chief executive Andrew Guy said: “We are delighted to be embarking on the expansion of Ed’s and our first station opening, working with experienced partners SSP. Dwell-time at train stations is certainly increasing and, with a daily footfall of 180,000 people, we’re confident the Liverpool Street Diner will be a success.” SSP UK chief executive Simon Smith added: “Ed’s is a much-loved brand that has a unique personality and a stand-out style that captures the imagination. It will be the perfect complement to the wide choice of bars, restaurants, cafes and shops that visitors to Liverpool Street will be able to enjoy.” Ed’s Easy Diner has just launched a search for new backing and has appointed KPMG to undertake a rapid hunt for new financing. City sources said the process could lead to an outright sale of the chain, although the existing shareholders’ preference was for a refinancing of the business which left them in control.




Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant concept Ottoman Grill to launch in Exeter city centre next week: New Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant concept Ottoman Grill will launch in Exeter city centre next week. The venue in Guinea Street will open on Monday (26 September) and is the brainchild of the Demir family. The 60-cover restaurant will occupy the former premises of Dinky’s Play Café, which closed in June. Huseyin Demir, a chef with 30 years’ experience, will run the kitchen, with a hand-made copper barbecue and wood-fired ovenkey as the restaurant’s centrepiece. He told the Express & Echo: “It’s one of a kind in the south west. The nearest one I know of is in London. People will be able to sit around it and watch their food being cooked.” Ottoman Grill has been granted a premises licence by Exeter City Council for the sale of alcohol from 11am until 11pm every day.




TGI Friday’s deploys chatbot on Facebook Messenger as it commits to digital platforms: TGI Friday’s is deploying a chatbot on Facebook Messenger to answer common customer queries and offer reservations at select restaurants as part of the company’s commitment to digital platforms. The move comes following TGI Friday’s partnership with enterprise conversation platform Conversable. Later this autumn, TGI Friday’s will expand its online reservations capabilities and offer online orders via social media channels. Eventually, the company expects to layer in delivery and expand the programme to include Twitter and messaging platform Kik. Sherif Mityas, TGI Friday’s vice-president for strategy and brand initiatives, told Nation’s Restaurant News: “Chatbot technology will allow us to engage with our guests in a more personal way, providing real-time responses from Friday’s, whether they want to get on a reservation list, find the closest restaurant or find out what the most popular cocktail is.” To highlight its commitment to digital platforms, TGI Friday’s will host its first Facebook Live “Happy Hour to Go” event this month, featuring the chain’s bartenders. TGI Friday’s operates more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries.




Croydon Boxpark featuring 40 foodservice operators to open next month: The grand opening of Croydon Boxpark will take place on Saturday, 29 October, with the venue in Ruskin Square hosting an urban music festival. The site next to East Croydon station will feature 40 foodservice operators. Companies include The Breakfast Club, MeatLiquor, Beijing street food specialist Mamalan, Craft Beer Co and Mexican restaurant Chilango, which has secured a unit for its first south London outlet. There will also be a number of local operators at the scheme, including Yumn Brasserie, which has a restaurant in South End, Croydon’s local brewery The Cronx, which will launch its first beer bottle shop, and Viet Do An, run by Kate Moss’s brother Nick. Boxpark development director Matthew McMillan told the Croydon Advertiser: “We are delighted to have some of the capital’s freshest and most exciting food concepts alongside brilliant local operators bursting with new ideas. With a core focus on the best street food around, Boxpark Croydon will be without doubt London’s most vibrant new dining destination.”




Domino’s Pizza extends Virtual Jukebox agreement to include debut dine-in venue: Domino’s Pizza has extended its agreement with interactive music service Virtual Jukebox to supply music for its debut dine-in restaurant in the UK. Last month, Domino’s signed an agreement for Virtual Jukebox to supply music services across key franchises following extensive testing of the cloud-based service at a number of Domino’s venues. Now the service has been extended to the company’s 86-cover sit-down restaurant in Loose, near Maidstone, Kent, which opened on 3 September. Domino’s will have complete control over the music, enabling the company to create a desired atmosphere that can be tailored to differentiate between dayparts. Domino’s Pizza franchise manager Ian Duxbury said: “We have partnered with Virtual Jukebox to help provide the best possible dining experience for our customers. The company has an outstanding reputation for its cutting-edge technology and targeted playlists, offering the most flexible music solution available in today’s market place.” Virtual Jukebox chief executive Andy Hill added: “A trial earlier in the year with Domino’s and its takeaway franchises demonstrated the considerable number of commercial benefits of playing music within its venues, and we strongly believe this will also be the case for its new dine-in concept.”




Cote confirms acquisition of Living Ventures site in Hale, aims to open restaurant in January: French brasserie Cote has confirmed it has acquired the site of The Hale Grill in Hale village, Cheshire, from Living Ventures and aims to open the new restaurant in January. The Hale Grill, which closed earlier this week, had been a fixture in Ashley Road for more than a decade. A Cote spokesman told Altrincham Today: “We have indeed agreed a deal to acquire the site. We hope to start on-site next month with a view to opening the restaurant in January 2017.” Staff at Hale Grill were told the restaurant would be closing with immediate effect following what Living Ventures said was “a strategic review”. A statement said: “Living Ventures can announce that The Hale Grill has ceased trading as of Monday, 19 September, the closure follows a strategic review of the Blackhouse brand. The Hale Grill has had ten great years in Hale and Living Ventures are confident that all of the team from the restaurant will be rehoused in other Living Ventures venues.” Cote currently has 80 sites in the UK.




New cafe bar concept offering German and Irish dishes opens in Birmingham: A new cafe bar concept offering German and Irish dishes has opened in Birmingham. Elisabeth Kennedy has launched Soda Bread on the corner of Ludgate Hill and St Paul’s Square at a former estate agent. As well as soda bread, there is coffee and croissants, breakfast dishes, including full English breakfast, and a range of freshly made sandwiches, baguettes and salads. Kennedy, who is half German, half Irish, told the Birmingham Mail: “Now we’re getting into winter, I’ll be cooking up hearty dishes such as cabbage and bacon, Irish stew, and some German cuisine – German goulash and lots of bratwurst and sauerkraut.” Soda Bread is also licensed and offers a range of wines. The restaurant is initially open for breakfast and lunch from 7.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 3pm on Sundays.




New dessert restaurant concept opens in Stoke: A new dessert restaurant concept has opened in Stoke. Talib Hussain has launched MyDessert in Broad Street, creating 20 jobs. The venue, which has seating for more than 40 customers, serves 24 flavours of gelato as well as 15 different cakes and cheesecakes. The menu includes crepes served with fruit, ice cream and chocolate sauce, waffles, and ice cream sundaes. There are also milkshakes, non-alcoholic mocktails, fruit juices and smoothies. Hussain told the Stoke Sentinel: “People were having to travel to Manchester and Birmingham to get good quality desserts, but now they won’t need to. We would really like to expand the operation in the future and maybe open another store.”




Signature Living gets go-ahead for new aparthotel in Liverpool: Aparthotel developer and operator Signature Living has been given the go-ahead for a new site in Liverpool. The company has been granted permission by the city council to convert the vacant One Arthouse Square in the Ropewalks district into a 39-bedroom aparthotel. It will feature two bars and restaurants, each with their own theme. The ground-floor Arthouse bar will offer drinks and snacks, from flavoured popcorns and pizzas to foot-long hotdogs. The restaurant/bar is being designed to capture the black-and-white movie era, complete with black booths and projectors showing movies on the walls. The menu will include a range of movie-themed cocktails. Signature Living acquired the building, which was the former home of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, in March.




Hanger SW6 restaurant opens basement ‘drinking den’ in Fulham Broadway: Fulham Broadway restaurant Hanger SW6 has opened “meat-lovers’ drinking den” Below The Cut in its basement. The venue serves an extensive list of liquors, alongside cocktails showcasing American-inspired classics. Home-infused gins will also be a main feature of the regularly changing cocktail menu, with seasonal ingredients and unique flavour combinations. The food menu will be a snapshot of the restaurant upstairs, with cheese-steak sandwiches alongside bar snacks such as salt and vinegar squid, Iberico charcuterie, and green harissa hummus. Below the Cut will host live music nights from acoustic evenings to DJ sets, supporting London-based artists. It will also host weekly Wednesday night events such as speed-dating cocktail parties to liquor flight tastings. The book swap stop encourages Londoners to donate and exchange books, while there is also old-school games such as Giant Jenga, Kerplunk and Cluedo. Basement Brunch will be served at weekends from midday to 4.30pm featuring American-inspired dishes such as steak ‘n’ eggs with fried duck egg, hash browns, and relish. The menu at Hanger SW6 features the Hanger Steak, at £11 per person or £20 to share, plus the Hanger Steak Sandwich served with sticky onions, watercress, mustard and ciabatta.




Park Holidays UK reports turnover hits nearly £120m: Holiday park operator Park Holidays UK has reported turnover has grown to nearly £120m. The company, which was acquired by Caledonia Investments about three years ago and runs 26 holiday parks, saw turnover of £119.2m for the year to 31 December 2015, compared with £91.8m in the previous nine-month period ended December 2014. Profit before tax increased to £26.4m from £19.8m. Speaking about the company’s performance in 2016, director Tony Clish said Park Holidays UK had benefited from “good summer weather” this year, adding that exchange rate movements “helped affordability compared with overseas destinations”. He told Insider Media: “The holiday park sector in the UK has played a major role in helping regenerate our coastal resorts and bringing additional tourists to areas that have suffered decline over many decades. We look forward to continuing playing our part in developing a vibrant UK tourism economy – creating job opportunities and supporting other businesses via our customers’ spending.”




Meantime set to reveal final product in Make Time For It campaign: Meantime Brewing Company will reveal the final product in its year-long Make Time For It campaign on Thursday, 20 October. Meantime launched the campaign in October 2015, challenging six of the best craftsmen in the country from six major UK cities – Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton and London – to create something unique in six weeks, the same time it takes Meantime to create a bespoke beer. The campaign centres around one of Meantime’s founding principles, something it refers to as the fifth ingredient in its beer – time. Six new beers later, the company will exhibit the best of British craft during a special night at the London Riviera.




Sheffield-based leisure group to transform former Staffordshire quarry into holiday village: Sheffield-based Laver Leisure has been granted permission to transform a former quarry in Staffordshire into a holiday village. The scheme at Moneystone Quarry will comprise 250 woodland lodges, watersports facilities and a leisure hub that will include a restaurant and swimming pool, creating 250 jobs. The quarry is identified as a location for sustainable tourism in the Churnet Valley Masterplan. Peter Swallow, of Laver Leisure, told Insider Media: “This is a regionally significant and exciting scheme and approval of this application is an important milestone in its development. A lot of hard work has been put into every stage of the process and we are looking forward to delivering some of the tourism benefits that are identified in the Churnet Valley Masterplan.”