Casual Dining Group chief executive Steve Richards to headline Arena summer lunch: Casual Dining Group chief executive Steve Richards will be keynote speaker at this year’s Arena summer lunch. The event is at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London on Monday, 11 July. Richards will share the plan that refocused and reinvigorated Casual Dining Group, including its sale of Strada, the transformation of core brands Bella Italia and Café Rouge, the acquisition of two businesses, including Las Iguanas, and an operational overhaul that introduced brand autonomy. He will also talk about the company’s opening programme, which has seen 42 restaurants launch in the past 12 months, and share his vision for doubling Casual Dining Group’s portfolio to 600 restaurants, scope for further acquisitions, and the company’s move into international territories, notably Asia and the Middle East. The event also includes research agency YouGov’s industry insight presentation, a drinks reception, and a three-course seated lunch with wine. Tickets cost £145 plus VAT for Arena members and £195 plus VAT for non-members. Tables of ten cost £1,305 plus VAT for Arena members and £1,755 plus VAT for non-members.
Hawksmoor teaches staff sign language to improve overall operations and customer experience: High-end steak brand Hawksmoor has invested in teaching its staff sign language to improve its overall business operations and the experience delivered to its deaf and hard of hearing customers. Staff attended an in-house British Sign Language (BSL) training workshop to help them communicate better with each other across busy restaurants as well as diners. The training, delivered by Lancashire-based workplace training and consultancy company HearFirst, aims to introduce staff to learn restaurant-related signs and develop their signing ability and deaf awareness generally. Georgie Parrott, from Hawksmoor, told 24 Dash: “We are aiming to create an even slicker service as we will be able to communicate across the restaurant floor using BSL without interfering with the ambience of the restaurant. Instead of using secret signs as in some restaurants, we are providing staff with an internationally recognised sign language.” Hearfirst director and founder Julie Ryder added: “The BSL training the management team at Hawksmoor initially identified was a business benefit to encourage all staff to communicate with each other across the restaurant floor using signs such as steak, cutlery, dessert menu and sparkling water, for example, but the skills they have now learnt will also benefit their deaf customers, thus improving their overall experience.” Hawksmoor has five restaurants in London and one in Manchester and will open in New York in the World Trade Centre at the end of the year.
New York to enforce salt warnings on restaurant menus from next month: New York will enforce a rule requiring restaurant chains to post warnings on menu items high in salt from next month. In February, a city state judge upheld the rule, knocking down a challenge by the National Restaurant Association (NRA). In March, an appellant judge temporarily stopped New York City’s board of health from enforcing the rule, which took effect in December. But the appeal court has now lifted that interim order. The rule, believed to be the first of its kind in the US, requires city restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide to post a salt shaker encased in a black triangle as a warning next to menu items with more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, the daily limit recommended by the federal government. Companies not adhering to the rule will be subject to $200 fines with enforcement starting on Monday, 6 June, reports Reuters. NRA spokeswoman Christin Fernandez said while the decision means restaurants will have to comply with what she called an “unlawful and unprecedented” rule, the trade group continued to move forward with its appeal. The group has argued the rule is arbitrary and causes confusion for consumers.
Brew to open Kew restaurant, sixth south west London site: Australian butcher, restaurateur and entrepreneur Jason Wells is set to open his sixth Brew restaurant in south west London – this time in Kew. The new venue in Station Approach, which will open in the summer, will feature a bespoke horticultural design paying homage to the area. It will also house an extensive herb-growing facility inside and outside the restaurant, as well as a set of suspended glass planters in the main hall. Brew head of food and beverage Julien Maisonneuve will develop seasonal changes to the menu, as well as weekly specials. Wells said: “The site is in a perfect location for us, very near Kew station.” The first Brew launched in Clapham in 2009, with sites now in Chiswick, Putney, Wimbledon and Wandsworth. All of Brew’s sourdough bread is made in the Hellfire Bakery at its Putney site, all chorizo is made from pigs butchered in-house, and herbs are handpicked from the company’s herb walls. Brew operates an apprenticeship scheme at all its sites in partnership with Westminster College. As part of the scheme, Brew provides training in patisserie, butchering and bakery. Brew Kew will be open daily from 7am to 10pm.
Mint Group terminates management agreement with live music venue Koko: London bar and nightclub operator Mint Group has terminated the company’s agreement to manage Koko, the live music venue in Camden Town. Notice of termination of the transitional services arrangement under which the venue was managed was served by Mint on 21 January with a termination date of 21 May. Mint has operated Koko since its launch in 2004. The company also owned the venue until it was demerged in November 2012. Koko’s turnover in the years ended 31 March 2015 and 31 March 2016 was up 5.4% and 2.4% respectively, against the year ended 31 March 2014. Site Ebitda (before management charges and non-recurring expenditure) for the years 2015 and 2016 increased by 2.3% and 7.2% respectively against 2014. Koko’s management will in future report to Mint and Koko founder Oliver Bengough, who has a 50% personal interest in the venue. The remaining shares are held by outside investors. Bengough said: “I’m very proud of the management team we have assembled which has been the bedrock of our success and 2016 is looking to be an even better year for Koko. We continue to move forward and to work with the finest artistes and musicians in the business.” Mint will continue to operate its other bar, restaurant, live venue/nightclub businesses and is planning to expand its interests in these sectors, in particular its newest Latin American-Japanese fusion restaurant brand, Mommi, in Clapham. The company said it is looking to grow the business both organically and by acquisition when suitable opportunities arise.
North east multi-site operator takes on Star Pubs & Bars venue in Newcastle for third venture: North east multi-site operator David Whitehead has acquired his third site after taking on The Waterline in Newcastle, which is owned by Star Pubs & Bars. A joint £700,000 investment will see the pub transformed and renamed The Jolly Fisherman on the Quay. The pub, located in a former bonded warehouse that has been closed for a year, will reopen in the first week of August, creating 20 to 25 jobs. It will feature a bar with booth and freestanding seating on the ground floor opening out onto a new terrace with tables and chairs. Upstairs there’ll be a new restaurant with an outside terrace while two kitchens are being installed to cater for the two different offers and increased focus on food. Vintage encaustic style tiles and wood will be used for flooring with design touches such as fishing rope, bleached driftwood and marine lighting incorporated throughout. Whitehead, who runs the Jolly Fisherman in Craster and the Plough Hotel in Alnwick, intends to bring across the best elements of the Fisherman at Craster menu. The pub will be open from 9am for early morning coffees, teas and pastries/snacks. Drinks will include premium beers and craft ales, as well as a selection of ciders, wines, cocktails and branded spirits. Whitehead said: “There has been a real gap in the market for a top quality casual bar restaurant in Newcastle serving fresh fish. This combined with location of the Jolly Fisherman on the Quay and the success we’ve had in Craster, lead me to believe the pub restaurant will be well received in Newcastle.” Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens added: “We’re delighted to be co-investing with David to improve the pub, securing it for the long-term. The plans for The Jolly Fisherman on the Quay are ideal for the pub, which I am sure, like David’s other ventures, will be a great success.”
Innovation Pub Management converts Grimsby pub into new smokehouse restaurant concept: Innovation Pub Management, led by Paul Weekes, has converted its White Hart pub in Grimsby into a new American barbecue restaurant concept. The company has launched Smokehouse following an extensive refurbishment of the grade II-listed 19th century building in Bethlehem Street. The restaurant, which features a real wood smoke pit delivering smokehouse food, will also serve craft beers and cocktails. It has retained the 13 employees at The White Hart as well as creating an additional seven jobs. Weeks told the Grimsby Telegraph: “The place might have had a bit of a chequered history but we have invested heavily and we have got an exciting vision to make it successful and turn its fortunes around. It will complement other places in town, rather than competing and taking customers away. Hopefully it brings others into town. We are focusing on what we have now got, with a fresh focus and a fresh brand.” Innovation Pub Management operates 29 sites in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
Newcastle boutique bowling alley Lane7 to install UK’s first large-scale car racetrack, eyes concept roll-out: Newcastle boutique bowling alley Lane7, owned by entrepreneur Tim Wilks, is introducing large-scale car racing games and is looking to roll-out the concept to other UK cities. Lane7 said it would be the first UK venue to permanently install “The Racing Rig” – a ten-player indoor racetrack in which customers use real steering wheels and pedals. The Rig is due to be fitted on the top floor of the venue in St James’ Boulevard in early June. Lane7 is also installing an indoor mini-golf course in the basement as part of a “six-figure upgrade”. The company said it was also searching for suitable venues for the racing concept in other UK cities. Lane7 operations manager Charlie Snow told BDaily: “The Racing Rig has been a long time in the planning because, quite frankly, it’s enormous and we were figuring out how on earth we could install it. Having this permanently installed anywhere is new to the UK and we’re convinced The Racing Rig is something that will appeal to a whole new set of fans. It’s loud, fast and brilliant fun.” Lane7 also offers pool, ping pong, beer pong, and karaoke booths.
D&D London eyes expansion in Dubai as well as UK: Restaurant group D&D London is working with a property adviser to find sites in Dubai for new and existing concepts. Chairman and chief executive Des Gunewardena has recently been on a three-day visit to Dubai – his second visit since October – with Berkeley Simmons Leisure boss Jeremy Simmons. Gunewardena told The Times: “If we do go to Dubai, we wouldn’t have just one restaurant. You need the scale to make it worthwhile so if we do decide to do something we will try to do several restaurants.” He said the group had yet to commit to any projects. Although rival restaurant brands have entered the Dubai market through franchising, Gunewardena said: “We will manage and directly operate our own restaurants in Dubai, as we do in Paris and New York.” D&D London is also seeking further sites in the UK where it is in the process of developing a rooftop restaurant at the £165m Hammerson development in Leeds and a similar project with Allied London at Spinningfields in Manchester. Gunewardena said D&D, which has 35 restaurants as well as South Place Hotel in the City, was also “actively bidding on a couple more hotel sites”. He also confirmed plans for a £100m listing, put on hold before Christmas, were no longer active as the “market was not really right to launch an initial public offering”. While an exit for LDC, its private equity backer, via a flotation or a secondary private equity buyout remained a possibility at some point, Gunewardena said his present focus was “completely on running the business”.
BrewDog brings £25m Site 3 brewhouse online: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has brought its £25m Site 3 brewhouse online, producing the first batches of Punk IPA from the 300HL facility. Work on the 5,500 square foot “East brewhouse” at its brewery in Ellon, near Aberdeen, began almost a year ago to the day, with the aim of increasing BrewDog’s beer production five-fold while operating in tandem with its adjacent 100HL brewhouse. The company stated on its website: “Our amazing team of engineers and brewery staff has worked unbelievably hard. Their long hours have paid off with the first brew taking place on our 300HL Ziemann brewhouse. Following a meticulous series of test runs (we) cut the ribbon and mashed in, producing the first batch of Punk IPA in the new brewhouse (swiftly followed by a second, and then a third). With those batches now fermenting in our East brewhouse, the initial signs are fantastic – and that is all down to the skill of everyone involved in the design, installation and brewing. It is also a testament to the 42,000-strong army of Equity Punks who invested in BrewDog.” Construction work also included expansion of the company’s working space to include 1,000 square metres of offices and conference rooms over three floors, plus breakout space and a staff restaurant called the Fix.
New World Trading Company submits plans for The Botanist in Reading: New World Trading Company is lining up an opening of The Botanist in Reading. The company has applied to Reading Borough Council to move into the former Barclays Bank building in King Street. It wants to open from 11am to 11pm between Sundays and Wednesdays with closing at 12.30am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The company only intends to use the western two-thirds of the former bank building with the rest forming a separate shop, reports Get Reading. The Botanist describes itself as “a concept like no other, offering a soon-to-be world famous selection of botanical cocktails, craft beers and ales, champagne and wine; food inspired by the deli, rotisserie and barbecue; and live music every night”. The brand currently has branches in Farnham, Marlow, Manchester, Alderley Edge, Birmingham, Chester, Knutsford, Newcastle and Leeds. It has also secured a site in Sheffield as well as lodged plans to open in York.
Owners of Lock Tavern in Camden lodge plans for restaurant and rooftop bar in Manchester: The owners of The Lock Tavern in Camden, north London, have unveiled plans for a new restaurant and music venue with a rooftop bar in Manchester city centre. They have applied to the city council for permission to bring the former Capes Dunn art auctioneers in Charles Street back into use as a “vibrant, well-used food and music venue”, reports the Manchester Evening News. Built in 1912, the three-storey building originally housed a printing press and has been empty since last summer. The new plans for the space include opening up a section of the roof to create an outdoor terrace with a retractable canopy and views over the ornate rooftop of the Palace Hotel in Oxford Street. The top floor would also house a private party area, while the ground floor would be used as a bar and restaurant, with live music performances hosted in a multi-purpose room on the first floor. The Lock Tavern has hosted gigs by artists such as Adele, Florence And The Machine, and Metronomy. The planning application stated: “The new owners are passionate about the building and passionate about the proposed use. They are keen to research the history, find out stories, explore the quirks and keep as many of the original features as possible.”
Fuel Juice Bars opens site at Redditch shopping centre: Fuel Juice Bars, the smoothie and juice bar concept backed by Kings Park Capital, has opened a site in Redditch, Worcestershire. The company, which specialises in healthy smoothies and juices, has opened the venue at the Kingfisher Shopping Centre. Ken Williams, general manager at Kingfisher Shopping Centre, told the Redditch Advertiser: “We are thrilled that Fuel Juice Bars has chosen the Kingfisher Shopping Centre to open its next store. Fuel Juice Bars is rapidly growing across the UK and is becoming a popular and well-known brand among the public. This new opening demonstrates our commitment to offering our shoppers a wide choice of food and drink retailers and adds to our growing offer here.” Earlier this month, Fuel Juice Bars revealed it had an additional pipeline of nine stores that would open by the end of the year, taking the total number of sites to 45.
McDonald’s appoints new chairman: McDonald’s has appointed director Enrique Hernandez Jr as the company’s new non-executive chairman. Hernandez replaces Andrew McKenna, who had been chairman since 2004 but announced his decision to retire earlier this year. Hernandez, who has been a director with McDonald’s since 1996, was elected at McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting. Chief executive Steve Easterbrook said in a statement: “Rick has been a tremendous asset to the board. He provides strong counsel, has a deep knowledge and passion for the brand and shares our desire to continue delivering long-term value for our shareholders and the McDonald’s system.” Hernandez began his career as a litigation attorney with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in Los Angeles and joined Inter-Con Security Systems in 1984 before becoming chief executive in 1986. He is also a director with Chevron Corporation, Wells Fargo & Company and Nordstrom, where last week he finished ten years as the company’s chairman. Meanwhile, the French headquarters of McDonald’s has been raided as part of a tax fraud probe. Financial and tax crime officials searched the company’s premises near Paris, seizing documents, reports Sky News. The investigation follows suspicions McDonald’s had been unlawfully lowering its tax bills by funnelling its earnings in France to Luxembourg, where its European headquarters is based.
Big Beer Company to expand Small Bar concept with Cardiff opening: Bristol-based The Big Beer Company, founded by former BrewDog bar director Bruce Gray, will start expansion of its Small Bar concept when it opens a second site, this time in Cardiff. City of Cardiff Council has granted permission to open Small Bar on the former site of American diner Apple Jacks in Church Street. The company already runs a Small Bar venue in Bristol, Wales Online reports. The company’s distribution arm works with “Britain’s best breweries, bringing their beers into the licensed trade in the south west”. Gray worked in the first BrewDog bar in Aberdeen in 2010, before becoming director of its second bar in Edinburgh and helping the chain expand into Manchester. Gray’s wife Hannah wanted to move closer to her family in South Wales and The Big Beer Company was founded in June 2013, managed by the husband and wife team. Last month, Gray was forced to close the UK’s “first vegan pub” – the Adam and Eve in Bristol – only 11 weeks after opening, citing soaring repair costs.
Michelin-starred chef to open Danish bakery The Bread Station in London Fields: Michelin-starred chef Christoffer Hruskova is set to open traditional Danish bakery The Bread Station in London Fields on Saturday (4 June). The venue in Hemsley Place will follow Danish baking principles and offer organic bread made without yeast, which has a “high water content that results in a moist crumb with added freshness”, Hot Dinners reports. The concept is based on techniques taught to Hruskova by Danish baker Per Brun. The 100% organic breads will include Familigia, a traditional wheat flour bread, London Fields Seeded (cracked rye, pumpkin and sunflower seeds), and Hackney Whole Grain. Traditional Danish pastries will also be an offer, including Kringle, a Danish sweet pastry, and Hindbaersnitter, a classic Danish short-crust pastry baked with raspberries. It will also have apple rhubarb cake, cinnamon rolls and sweet tea buns. Its website states: “We are passionate about the rare art of Danish baking. With our own stone mill, we create yeast free, naturally produced artisan breads and pastries.”
Manchester-based bar operator opens second site, in Burscough: Manchester-based bar operator Expansive Horizons has expanded its portfolio by opening its second site, this time in Burscough, Lancashire. The company, owned by James Kennedy and Gavin Williams, has acquired The Old Packet House pub. Expansive has refurbished the site and reopened it as a “traditional country pub with unique quirky twists”. The menu features fish and chips as well as pheasant with black pudding. There is a range of local beers along with more than 40 gins and cocktails. Long term, the company wants to add rooms upstairs along with a function room. Kennedy and Williams told the Southport Visiter: “We saw this incredible building come on the market and it was something we just couldn’t turn down. A building with such amazing history which we love as you often find little gems hidden away in nooks and crannies or behind the plaster.” Expansive Horizons also owns the country garden-themed Allotment bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, which opened in 2014.
Wylam Brewery opens new £2m brewery site in Newcastle: Wylam Brewery has opened its £2m site in Newcastle after moving brewing operations to the city from Heddon-on-the-Wall. The company has converted the former Military Vehicle Museum in Exhibition Park, historically called the Palace of Arts, into a brewery, bar and leisure facility. The existing building at Heddon will be kept as a storage facility, but all brewing will take place in the new venue. It is currently producing 800 casks a week, taking annual sales to £1.4m, but the new 30-barrel brewhouse will trigger a 50% hike in production to meet demand from UK customers, which include the UK’s four Tate galleries. The bar and brewery tap open until 11pm. Events will take place twice a month with capacity for 800 people, while the site can also cater for weddings with up to 250 guests in attendance as well as 15 conferences a year. Brewery director Dave Stone told Chronicle Live: “We’ve taken great care to make sure the building has been renovated to a high specification and we’re looking forward to welcoming people from the north east and beyond to see what we do.”
New Vietnamese restaurant concept @Kitchen opens in Plymouth: New Vietnamese restaurant concept @Kitchen has opened in Plymouth City Market. Owner and head chef Prissanda Hosakum was a chef for Japanese restaurant group Roka in London before deciding it was time to launch her own business. She spent several months travelling around the country looking for a suitable town and venue for her new venture before settling on Plymouth. She told The Herald: “I come from a small village in Thailand where everybody knows everybody else and being in the market is just like being at home – everyone says hello and they are so welcoming. It’s a great place to eat and shop.” All @Kitchen dishes are made using local produce, with fruit and vegetables sourced from the market. Hosakum said: “I’m hoping our menu will help people to think more about what they eat and choose food that not only looks, tastes and smells good but is nutritious too, something intrinsic in Vietnamese and Asian cooking.”
Street food and crazy golf concept Swingers returns to central London: Street food and crazy golf concept Swingers has returned to London, taking over a Second World War bunker in the City, which could be a permanent home. Swingers launched as a pop-up last September in Shoreditch and ran for three months. The concept was started by Josh Ford, founder of the Winterwell festival. The new 16,000 square foot site, between Bank and Liverpool Street, features two nine-hole crazy golf courses and four cocktail bars, as well as a gin terrace in its two-storey clubhouse, all in partnership with Diageo. There are three “street vendors” – Pizza Pilgrims (with pizzas exclusive to Swingers), better burger brand Patty & Bun, offering new burgers such as the Colin Montgomery, and gourmet kebab house Le Bab, with new dishes such as corn-fed chicken shish with charred pickled broccoli and chipotle aioli. There is also a coffee counter run by Nude Coffee Roasters. Swingers is at Brown’s Buildings and is open every day from midday until late, with DJs playing in the evenings. The 500-capacity venue, which is for over-18s only, can also be hired out.
New £200,000 cocktail bar concept set to open in Wolverhampton in July: A new £200,000 cocktail bar concept is set to open in Wolverhampton in July. The Bohemian is launching in Lichfield Street on the site of the former Quadrant Lounge and Irish MBassy, creating 20 jobs. An extensive cocktail menu and several craft beers and draught ciders will be available at the new bar, while the food menu will take a tapas-style format, with sharing platters. It is hoped the upstairs area will be opened by the beginning of next year, with a function room with an extra bar planned. Manger Andrew Rhodes told the Express & Star: “We’re bringing a concept that we believe is a first for Wolverhampton. Cocktails are going to the core of our business – we have a menu of 50 plus. We are also going to have a strong offering of craft beer and eight ciders from around the country on draught. The Bohemian is all about sharing and socialising, with large tables, intimate booth areas and a cosy ‘snug’. It provides the perfect venue for quick bites and lazy lunches. Heading into the weekend, we transform into a social hub for the city centre.”
Franco Manca opens Brighton venue, second site outside London: Pizza brand Franco Manca, owned by Fulham Shore, has opened a venue in Brighton – its second site outside London. The 130-seater restaurant is in Regent Street, in the historic North Laine area of the city, on the site of the former Surf & Ski Sports shop. Franco Manca operates 19 sourdough pizzerias in London, the latest launch being in Stoke Newington, with Guildford the first venue to open outside the capital. Franco Manca has also secured a lease for a site in Bromley and has exchanged contracts on another in a large office and retail development Nova Victoria, behind Buckingham Palace. The company is also in the process of opening a venue in Kentish Town as part of ongoing expansion plans.
Loungers opens site in Loughborough: Cafe brand Loungers has opened a site in Loughborough, Leicestershire. The company has launched Centro Lounge at the new Baxter Gate development, which is anchored by a Cineworld multiplex cinema. Loungers has invested £500,000 creating the retro home from home “where dramatic artwork sits next to oversized vintage sofas and statement light fittings, in the eclectic style much loved by Lounge aficionados”. Operations manager Jenny Arnot told the Loughborough Echo: “Loughborough is the perfect location for our concept. There’s already a thriving and vibrant community and we’re really looking forward to playing our part in the foodie scene here. Residents will be served by the very best – our new team is passionate about hospitality.” Loungers, which also operates the Cosy Club brand, has about 80 sites. The company revealed last month it had a fully-formed pipeline of openings for 2016.
Café Rouge opens £1m restaurant at Broadstairs shopping centre: Casual Dining Group has opened a £1m Cafe Rouge venue in the Westwood Cross shopping centre in Broadstairs, Kent. The 198-cover bistro, which features an external dining area for more than 30 all-day diners, is on the site formerly occupied by Topshop-Topman. The interior pays homage to French fashion with features including a wall of shoes in the style of Louboutin, while iconic black-and-white images of French models adorn the wall. Cafe Rouge managing director James Spragg said: “It’s a great shopping park we’ve wanted to come to for a long time. For the past year we have been busy refurbishing restaurants and deciding where to start planning new operations. The site represents a significant investment for us, which has created more than 40 jobs for local people.”
Street food fish-and-chip concept Chipping Forecast opens permanent site in Notting Hill: London-based street food fish-and-chip concept The Chipping Forecast has opened a permanent site in Notting Hill. The concept, which trades at Berwick Street Market in Soho, has opened a restaurant in All Saints Road using fresh, sustainably caught Cornish fish fried in beef dripping. Dishes include BrewDog beer-battered fish, salmon fish cakes, fish pie, prawn cocktail, salt-and-pepper squid, punk-steamed Cornish mussels, monkfish scampi, and Seadog – a panko breaded fillet of plaice served in a brioche bun with minted pea puree, tartar sauce and rocket. The dishes are served with triple-cooked chips, Hot Dinners reports. The company states on its website: “Each delivery of fish we receive can be traced back to the boat and the fisherman who landed the catch. We guarantee from hook to Hill within 48 hours!” Graham Grafton, formerly of Luxury hotel group Calcot Hotels’ Barnsley House and The Village Pub restaurants, has been appointed head chef.
Bella Italia opens restaurant at Gunwharf Quays: Bella Italia, the brand owned by Casual Dining Group, has opened a restaurant at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. The company has invested more than £700,000 opening the venue, which is based on the waterfront at the foot of the Spinnaker Tower, creating 25 jobs. It stretches over two floors with terraces on both levels for those wishing to dine al fresco. General manager Eleanor Hunt said: “The whole team here at Bella Portsmouth is very excited to be opening on Gunwharf Quays – the destination place in this amazing waterfront city. Our fantastic new restaurant is perfect to enjoy for every occasion.” Gunwharf Quays general manager Colin Wilding added: “Bella Italia is a fantastic family dining restaurant which will perfectly complement our existing dining offering. We’re excited to reveal our latest addition to our visitors.”
Premier Inn approved for Bridlington – resort’s first new hotel since 1937: Whitbread has been given the go-ahead to build an £8m Premier Inn in Bridlington, which would be the first new hotel in the Yorkshire seaside resort for almost 80 years. The 82-bedroom hotel is set to be built on Beaconsfield car park and will include a 110-cover Brewers Fayre restaurant and create 30 jobs. Construction work is expected to start this year with the hotel due to open in mid-2017. It will be only yards from the council’s £25m seafront leisure complex, which opened recently. East Riding of Yorkshire Council approved the plan despite almost 500 objections from residents living near the site in Albion Terrace, the Hull Daily Mail reports. The planning committee voted in favour of the scheme after hearing hotel visitors were expected to boost the town’s economy by £1.3m a year. Whitbread is building towards a milestone target of 85,000 bedrooms by 2020 as part of Premier Inn expansion plans across the UK. The last hotel built in Bridlington was the Expanse, which opened in North Marine Drive in 1937.
New healthy eating cafe concept opens in Irvine: A new healthy eating cafe concept has opened in Irvine, Scotland. Marc Green and Colin Malcher have launched The Niche in Montgomery Street, creating six jobs. It has seating for 20 people and also operates as a takeaway. It serves snacks, salads and smoothies, as well as dedicated vegetarian options. The duo, who are fitness experts, will also put together meal plans for customers. Green told the Daily Record: “We believe we have something unique to offer that can be for everyone with a menu full of completely fresh ingredients. From what we have seen there isn’t really anything like this in Ayrshire – and there certainly isn’t in Irvine.”