New openings round-up

Highlights include Steak ‘n’ Shake, Abokado, Bella Italia, Knead and Leon. 

The Revolution Bars Group says it is on track to open four new Revolución de Cuba bars in the last eight weeks of the year. Three—in Reading, Aberdeen and Harrogate—have just opened, with one more to follow in Glasgow in mid-December. The Revolución de Cuba estate is now up to 12, and Revolution says it will open five new such bars a year from now on. Chief executive Mark McQuater said: “We will have opened four new Revolución de Cubas in the last 8 weeks and more than doubled the number of Revolución de Cubas in little over 18 months, a testament to the strength of the concept and brand… Looking ahead we have a strong pipeline of sites.” Revolución de Cuba is also seeking to open a first Northern Ireland location in Belfast, according to reports.

Bella Italia has just opened at the East Kilbride shopping centre—its 22nd new restaurant of 2016. The Scottish opening comes close behind one at Newcastle’s Eldon Square development, and brings Bella Italia’s total estate to 111. Managing director Nick White said: “Having recently celebrated our 25th birthday, I am delighted with, and very proud of our achievements this year, with a total of 22 new site openings delivered. In so many ways 2016 has been a transformational year, whether it’s the pace of our food development and menu innovations, our openings programme, or the revenue generated and the number of people that now work as part of the Bella Italia team.”

Abokado, the chain of healthy food outlets plans to open its 29th site at South Quay, Canary Wharf in January. Read a Q&A with the company’s Founder Mark Lilley here, as he discusses their property requirements.

Tortilla has opened its 32nd location, at the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre near Bristol. It continues a rapid expansion beyond London for the brand.

The Brunning & Price brand has launched the Physician in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. The bar and restaurant have nearly 200 covers between them. You can view their property requirements here.

Loungers launched its latest new venue, the Croeso Lounge in Mumbles, on Wednesday (30 November). Other brands including Prezzo and Le Bistrot Pierre will open in the town shortly, the South Wales Evening Post reports. Loungers is also gearing up for the launch of its larger format Cosy Club in Liverpool One next Wednesday (7 December).

SSP is readying a new concept called Knead that it has developed with TV baker Paul Hollywood. It will open the first branch in an as yet unnamed London railway station early next year, and then plans to expand the brand in travel hubs around the UK. Knead will sell bite-sized savoury and sweet treats that will be available to buy by the inch.

Bowling and dining centre Hollywood Bowl opens at the WestQuay Watermark development in the next few weeks. It is a 17,000 square feet venue and is the brand’s 55th site in all. It incorporates a Hollywood Diner restaurant concept with gourmet burgers and hotdogs, desserts and milkshakes. 

Healthy fast food operator Leon has also just opened in Oxford—at Cornmarket. Leon’s estate is now up to 42. Read a recent Q&A with their property acquisitions manager Beth Emmens here

Hook Norton opens the Castle Tavern in Oxford on Friday (2 December)—its first pub in the city. 

Steak ‘n’ Shake, a US-based steak burger and milkshake concept, is to make its UK debut under franchise with a launch in Chester. Steak ‘n’ Shake now has around 500 company and franchise run restaurants, and has also opened in France and Italy as part of an expansion into Europe. 

Fried chicken concept Absurd Bird has set 14 December for the opening of its latest new restaurant at the SouthGate centre in Bath. It joins branches in Soho and Spitalfieds in London, and in Exeter.

Varanasi, a huge new casual Indian concept, launches on Broad Street in Birmingham on Friday (2 December). It is a 500-cover restaurant spread over three floors, two of them underground, the Birmingham Mail reports. There is a ground floor bar holding 50 as well as the two restaurant areas. The building on Broad Street was previously occupied by Waxy O’Connor’s. Varanasi becomes Birmingham’s biggest single restaurant. 

A group of Sardinian restaurants and producers has teamed up to create a new restaurant called Bosa in Finsbury Park. Named after the owners’ town on the island, it has been developed by chefs Angelo Sanna and Monserrato Marini, and the operations director is Caludio Peddis, ex of brands including Strada and Cote. The restaurant will serve mainstream Italian dishes as well as Sardinian specialities. Sanna said: “When our guests come to visit us, we want them to feel like they’re entering our home. Italian hospitality is famous and we want everyone to taste food like our mothers prepared. That’s why we’ve created a menu that gives you the best of both worlds; traditional Sardinian food with well-known Italian favourites.”

The Food Yard, a new healthy breakfast and lunchtime deli and café operation, has opened on Fulham Road in London. It is a 1,300 square feet site with 20 covers, and has been developed by Nassib Hamdane. 

Aviary, a new rooftop restaurant and bar from the ETM group at the Montcalm Royal London Hotel on Finsbury Square, is soft launching on Thursday (1 December) with an offer of 50% off food. It covers 6,000 square feet at the top of the hotel, and opens from 11.30am to midnight every day. It is the second venue to be opened by the ETM group within the hotel, alongside café, bar and restaurant operation Burdock.

Tony Conigliaro, founder of London cocktail bars 69 Colebrooke Row and Bar Termini, will open a third concept called Untitled on Kingsland Road in Hackney shortly. The bar is being modeled on Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, and will have 12 original Untitled cocktails as well as food.

Pub People has reopened the Six Barrel Drafthouse in Hockley after a £275,000 refurbishment in partnership with Enterprise Inns. Elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, Enterprise says it has supported the relaunch of the Greyhound pub inn Arnold with a £300,000 investment.

Handmade Burger Co has applied to open a restaurant in York, local media report. View their property requirements here.

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