Incipio Group to open first bricks and mortar Pergola site in Canary Wharf: Incipio Group, operator of venues including The Prince and Lost In Brixton, is to transform Percy’s, its current nightclub in High Street Kensington, and open the first bricks and mortar site under its Pergola concept in London’s Canary Wharf. Propel understands the Edition Capital-backed business has secured the former Giant Robot site for Pergola on the Wharf, which will open in June. The new venue will feature a wraparound terrace with capacity for 200 guests – the terrace will also be heated for colder months. Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows will ensure guests can continue to enjoy panoramic views of the city and plenty of natural daylight, while green planting throughout the venue will bring the outside in. There will be three different bars offering a selection of expertly made cocktails, alongside an extensive list of beer, wine and soft drinks. The total venue capacity is 700. As well as a year-round in-house food offering, Pergola on the Wharf will house a separate kitchen dedicated to hosting a rotating series of guest chefs showcasing “innovative dishes by street food traders from London and beyond, shining a spotlight on new and exciting cuisines and concepts”. A roster of DJs will also make regular appearances at Pergola on the Wharf and the venue has a licence to host live bands. Pergola on the Wharf will have several areas available for private hire for both corporate and non-corporate guests, including a semi-private area available to book for up to 150 people, offering access to the outdoor terrace and an island bar, a semi-private dining room bookable for 14 guests seated/35 standing and areas for smaller groups of ten available to book throughout the venue.
White Rabbit Projects eyes Lina Stores expansion in Japan after signing agreement with RT Corporation: White Rabbit Projects, the Chris Miller-led backer of Lina Stores, hopes there will be opportunities for to open more sites under the restaurant and delicatessen brand in Japan in the future, after signing an agreement to launch in the country. Propel has learned the company has signed a partnership agreement with RT Corporation, which is part of Takashimiaya – one of the oldest department stores in Japan – and already works with global restaurant brand Din Tai Fung. It was announced on Tuesday (6 April) that Lina Stores would make its international debut in Japan, with its first site outside the UK in Shibuya, Tokyo, opening this summer. Lina Stores Omotesando will open with a small plates restaurant and adjoining delicatessen for eat-in and takeaway. The 90-seater restaurant will feature an open-theatre kitchen and dedicated pasta room. Miller told Propel: “RT Corporation are experts not only in the Japanese culinary industry but also in retail making them the perfect support partner for us to team up with for Lina Stores restaurant and delicatessen in Tokyo. We hope there will be opportunities for more in the future but all focus now is on making the site in Omotesando a huge success.” Lina Stores has reopening dates planned for its restaurants in London’s Soho and King’s Cross while its original delicatessen in Brewer Street is “closed until further notice”.
The Orange Buffalo to launch fourth site: London-based wings brand The Orange Buffalo is to open its fourth site, in Soho. The company, founded by Nick White and Mike So, is launching the outlet in Argyll Street on Monday (12 April). The site will primarily serve as a takeaway location, consisting of a hole-in-the-wall-style kitchen and outdoor heated terrace with space for 24 covers. Delivery will also be available from Friday, 16 April. The outlet will serve the brand’s signature homemade hot sauces on its wings and fried chicken sandwiches, as well as a selection of side dishes and the plant-based Nawty Burger. The Orange Buffalo was founded in 2012 by White and So, beginning life as a food truck in Shoreditch’s The Truman Brewery, which is still there today. The pair then went on to launch at Colours Hoxton in Hoxton Square in 2017, followed by Tooting in 2019. The Argyll Street site will be operated under a joint venture by Caansin, which is converting its existing Oslo Fish + Bun restaurant to The Orange Buffalo. Sammy Weinbaum is understood to have advised on the deal.
North west-based Mediterranean restaurant concept Turquoise lines up third site:North west-based Mediterranean restaurant concept Turquoise is lining up its third site. The company has applied to Cheshire East Council to convert an empty retail unit in Alderley Edge. The London Road premises would become a restaurant serving Turkish and Mediterranean food and also include a patisserie, in line with its sites in Bramhall and Cheadle. The proposed opening hours are 8am to midnight daily and Turquoise also intends to apply for an alcohol licence, reports alderleyedge.com.
Bad Axe Throwing to open second UK site, at Boxpark Croydon: Axe throwing company Bad Axe Throwing is to open its second UK site, at Boxpark Croydon. The venue, which will also offer a menu of hot dogs and cocktails, will launch on Monday, 17 May, and follows on from its debut UK opening, at Boxpark Wembley. As part of the World Axe Throwing League, Bad Axe Throwing allows its league members to compete in competition with more than 6,000 other throwers from 310 locations and 28 countries all over the world. Bad Axe Throwing founder Mario Zelaya said: “Despite a difficult year across the hospitality industry in the UK, we are pressing forward with the expansion of Bad Axe and we look forward to welcoming customers to our new location. Offering a blended environment of relaxed socialising and competitive sport, there is so much here to enjoy.” Boxpark chief executive and founder Roger Wade added: “We are excited to welcome Bad Axe to Boxpark Croydon as we continue to expand and diversify our offering for customers. With that in mind, we have been focusing on the integration of competitive socialising with our food and beverage model – and leisure will play a key role in future sites. Bad Axe makes a great addition to our entertainment, and with a dedicated space at our Wembley site, we are delighted to support it with its expansion plans by bringing them to Croydon.”
FreshMex outlines growth plans as it secures Edinburgh site: Aberdeen-based Tex Mex street food trader FreshMex has outlined plans for growth in Scotland this year before expanding to more cities in England from 2022. The company, founded by Robbie Moult and Calum Wright in 2015, operates a restaurant and takeaway in Aberdeen as well as a dark kitchen in Nottingham. Now it has revealed it will open a site in Edinburgh. FreshMex has secured the former Barburrito premises in Lothian Road and is planning to open the restaurant in June. Moult told The Scotsman: “Our goal is to become the UK’s most popular burrito. We have ambitious plans to expand further in Scotland – via Glasgow – this year and then add to our existing kitchen in Nottingham with more high-street restaurants and takeaway sites in the larger cities across England in 2022 and beyond.” FreshMex operated at farmers’ markets and festivals before opening its debut bricks and mortar site in Aberdeen in 2018.
Deliveroo shares edge up despite strike action: Deliveroo shares edged up on their first fully open day of trading on the London Stock Exchange. Shares rose more than 2% to 286p on Wednesday (7 April), the first day the 70,000 retail investors were allowed to trade. They are still well below the 390p paid as the shares dived on their debut last week amid big investors’ concerns over workers’ rights and profits. Hundreds of Deliveroo riders went on strike on Wednesday as they called for higher pay. Deliveroo said it was organised by a small “union [that] does not represent the vast majority of riders”. Deliveroo employs 50,000 riders, but only about 400 took part in the strike. Deliveroo also said its own survey data showed 90% of riders were happy with the company. Deliveroo’s share sale marked London’s biggest stock market launch for a decade, but the sharp fall seen saw it dubbed “the worst IPO (initial public offering) in the history of London”. Smaller investors, known as retail investors, got their first chance to trade their shares on Wednesday as what is described as “unconditional trading” began. Despite small gains on Wednesday, the company’s share price is still far below its 390p float price on its debut when big investors and Deliveroo customers could buy or sell shares. The company had initially hoped for a share price of up to 460p. Investment bank Goldman Sachs, which was an adviser to Deliveroo and was responsible for stabilising the share price, had to buy about £75m worth of Deliveroo shares to support the share price in the first few days, according to the Financial Times.
Honest Burgers to open in Finsbury Park: Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed business, is to further increase its presence in London, with an opening in Finsbury Park. The company, which last month appointed Frank Hayes, former managing director of pub company Spirit Group, as its new chief executive, has taken a site at the City North development next to Finsbury Park Station, for an opening later this summer. It will join Rosa’s Thai at the scheme. Propel revealed earlier this year, the 44-strong Honest Burgers had secured a site in Windsor’s Thames Street for an opening later this year. It has also taken on the former Carluccio’s site in St Albans’ Christopher Place shopping centre. Propel understands Honest Burgers will operate the site initially as a pop-up after taking a short-term lease on the unit.
Camile Thai opens dark kitchen site in Canary Wharf: Dublin-based healthy food delivery company Camile Thai has opened a new dark kitchen, in London’s Canary Wharf. The company has partnered with Reef’s Neighborhood Kitchens in London as part of plans to expand the brand’s ghost kitchen footprint, in addition to its continued traditional growth across the capital. Customers can have their dishes delivered simply by placing an order with a local food delivery provider. Jonathan Dockrell, Camile’s UK general manager, said: “Camile is embracing ghost kitchen opportunities to expand their reach beyond traditional bricks and mortar restaurants in every neighbourhood across London. By partnering with companies such as Reef, we can bring Camile into denser, urban areas without the overhead of operating a traditional restaurant space.” Camile Thai operates almost 40 outlets, including six in London.
Experienced pizza chef to launch solo site in May: Pizza chef Andrea Ascuiti has announced the launch of 081 Pizzeria at Peckham Levels will take place on Saturday, 1 May. Ascuiti, who is one of the team behind popular Streatham pizza restaurant Bravi Razgazzi, will open his Neapolitan pizza site initially for delivery and collection but will allow dine-in customers with table service from 20 May. 081 Pizzeria also claims to be one of the UK’s first concepts to serve “Neapolitan tapas”, which are a selection of snacking dishes inspired by food in Naples. Tapas dishes include the Frittatina – deep-fried Italian mac and cheese with minced meat; and Arancina – deep-fried rice balls filled with Bolognese. Drinks include craft beers by Italian brewers and Aperol Spritz. Ascuiti said: “It’s such an exciting time to open a pizza restaurant despite the challenges posed by the lockdown – pizza has never been so loved in the UK as it is today.”
Meanwhile Events and Kerb partner for outdoor street food pop-up at Tobacco Dock: Meanwhile Events, which is behind Skylight – London’s largest rooftop bar – has partnered with street food collective Kerb for a pop-up featuring some of the capital’s finest street food. Taking over the Quayside area at Tobacco Dock from Saturday, 1 May, Skylight Canalside will be a new outside destination for the summer months.  Located waterside beneath the two “pirate” sailing ships at Tobacco Dock, Skylight Canalside  will encapsulate a “beer-garden feel”, with picnic tables, parasols, atmospheric lighting and bunting. The line-up will see a rotating offering of street food, with two new Kerb food trucks parking up each month. Fundi Pizza and Tongue ‘N Cheek are first taking up residency every Saturday in May. Fundi, launched in 2021 by brother’s Charlie and Rory Nelson, specialises in Neapolitan style pizzas – stretched and hand-made to order in wood-fire ovens. Tongue ‘N Cheek serves Italian-inspired burgers and vegan options. Skylight’s bar team will be pouring beer, wine and spirits as well as an all-new seasonal cocktail menu. Kerb events managing director Alana Buckley said: “We are always looking for new and inventive ways to bring street food to the capital and have put together a fantastic line up for Tobacco Dock featuring everything from indulgent burgers and hot dogs to curries and wood-fired pizza.”
Chadlington Brewery owner acquires debut pub: Jason Chipchase, owner and chief executive of Oxfordshire-based Chadlington Brewery, has acquired his debut pub. Chipchase has bought The Tite Inn in Chadlington with funding secured by Christie Finance. Chipchase, who will operate the pub through his new Oxfordshire Inns vehicle, has been supplying the Tite Inn for many years through the brewery. Oxfordshire Inns plans to rejuvenate The Tite Inn’s internal layout and equipment, and add an outdoor cooking area. It will introduce music and comedy events to the pub’s calendar and extend the business’ currently limited opening hours. Chris Field, director at Christie Finance, who orchestrated the deal and secured funding for the purchase, said: “Not only will this give Jason, who is the proud owner of Chadlington Brewery, a fantastic platform from which he can sell his beer from, but also an opportunity to acquire one of the most idyllic pubs in the Cotswolds.”
May opening for Skye Gyngell’s shop version of Spring restaurant in Notting Hill:Chef Skye Gyngell has announced a shop version of her restaurant Spring will open in early May. The Ledbury Road site in Notting Hill will offer meals and baked goods from the restaurant team as well as biodynamic produce from Fern Verrow farm and Heckfield Home Farm, wines, a coffee counter and flowers from Kitten Grayson. The home-cooked meals will change regularly with examples being poached chicken with sourdough dumplings and winter greens, and spring nettle tagliolini with wild garlic and walnut sauce. There will also be a freezer displaying signature ice creams, fresh loaves of bread alongside coffee, herbal tea and hot chocolate, and a natural wine section curated by Spring’s sommelier, Monique Ziervogel. Gyngell said: “It is imperative to choose to embrace the values of organic, regenerative and community supported agriculture, in order to nourish both families and the planet. It is for this very reason I am so excited to bring the latest iteration of Spring.”
Snow Centres Group expands portfolio: Hertfordshire-headquartered Snow Centres Group has acquired The Chill Factore in Manchester, which boasts the UK’s longest indoor ski slope. Located on the outskirts of the Trafford Centre, The Chill Factore comprises a 180-metre main slope and a 40-metre lesson slope, as well as a designated fun zone for sledging and snow play. Ian Brown, managing director of Snow Centres, which has bought the asset from U+I, said: “For more than a decade, Chill Factore has built a reputation as one of the most iconic leisure brands in the UK. It complements our existing business extremely well and was the most obvious way to expand our role in the growing UK snowsports industry.” The sale is part of U+I’s strategy to dispose of non-core assets to boost funds and reinvest in major regeneration projects. Oliver Church, of Arcane Real Estate, advised Snow Centres on the acquisition.
Tesco trials ‘restaurant-quality’ collection boxes: Tesco is trialling meal box deliveries, with its first products on sale online and in a limited number of stores. The supermarket has developed three meal box options in its Finest range as it looks to benefit from the rising popularity of meal boxes during the pandemic. The collection box comes in three options retailing at £20 for the chicken or confit duck boxes and £25 for the ox cheek alternative. Ben Sherburn, head of brand at Tesco Finest, said: “With restaurants still closed and many celebrating their second birthday or anniversary in lockdown, we were keen to capitalise on the moment and offer our customers something special at home. These boxes come without the hassle of a home-cooked meal but with all of the satisfaction and bragging rights.” Tesco Finest Restaurant Collection boxes are available in 215 Tesco stores and online, with 73 of the large stores offering click-and-collect options.