New openings round-up

Brands including Pod, Wahaca, Pizza Express, ASK Italian, Miller & Carter and Inamo are among those with new opening plans to report this week.


Carluccio’s reached the milestone of 100 restaurants in the UK last Friday, with an opening at the intu Metrocentre in Gateshead. It is a 2,860 square feet restaurant, with 80 covers inside and 52 out. The opening follows recent launches for Carluccio’s in Chelmsford and Swindon. Chief executive Neil Wickers said: “Reaching 100 UK outlets is a significant milestone for the business and makes me very proud. Carluccio’s is entering a period of faster growth with a UK brand roll out of around 12 sites per year. In line with our new generation store at Spitalfields, London, which opened earlier this year, we are also refurbishing a number of restaurants.” You can view Carluccios property requirements here.

Healthy on the go brand Pod has signed another new site: on Seven Dials in Covent Garden. It is a 1,100 square feet site, and will become the operator’s 24th venue when it opens in September. It will open in the evenings as well as daytime, with alcoholic drinks planned to be part of the menu in due course. Executive chairman John Postlethwaite said: “We are thrilled to be well and truly on-the-move again. Our new Seven Dials site takes us west into the heart of London’s tourist scene. We are looking forward to new challenges this site poses such as seven-day trading and pre-theatre dining, both new to Pod.”

Hunky Dory Pubs, the new managed pub partnership between Enterprise Inns and Oakman Inns & Restaurants, opened its first site late last week. It is the Beech House in Solihull, a 660 square metre site with an open kitchen and garden. The launch follows a £1.2m joint spend by Enterprise and Oakman. Hunky Dory has already identified four more sites for development. Enterprise chief executive Simon Townsend said: “The opening of our first Hunky Dory site marks an important milestone in the development of our Managed Expert model. We’ve worked closely with Peter to find the right venue and create the perfect retail offer to ensure the business will thrive.” Oakman chief executive Peter Borg-Neal said: “We are delighted to get the first Hunky Dory site open… We were presented with a great building to work with and I believe we have managed to make the best of it.”

ASK Italian will open at the centre:MK development in Milton Keynes in the next month or two. It has taken a 4,200 square feet unit across two floors, with 160 covers. ASK joins brands including Jamie’s Italian and Byron at the centre.

The White Brasserie Company has acquired its 12th venue: the Village Hall in Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire. It is a 110-cover venue with two floors, and has a further 150 covers outside. Mark Derry, chief executive of Brasserie Bar Co, said: “We were delighted to find a pub with such potential in such a perfect setting. Each pub we open has its own special character and ambience and we are excited to revitalise this site and make it a much loved venue for locals and visitors.”

Casual Dining Group has opened a new branch of on the go concept Rapide at Inverness airport in Scotland. It will be a 45 square metre unit and is scheduled to open in mid-September. It is CDG’s first standalone site for Rapide, though the company already operates it alongside Café Rouge restaurants at Victoria Place and Euston in London. Mark Nelson, managing director of concessions and international franchising, said: “A grab-and-go outlet at a busy airport terminal is a perfect location from which to attract takeaway customers. The one at Inverness also helps us develop a presence in Scotland as we seek to open other express outlets north of the border, while at the same time looking at opportunities at major airports in England.”

Brewer and pub operator Wadworth has opened its first ever pub in London: the King’s Arms in Fulham. It has launched following a £300,000 spend, and is being run under Wadworth’s new Great Pub, Great Food segment. Chief executive Chris Welham said: “We are really happy to welcome The King’s Arms into the Wadworth family. The move into London is in line with our long term growth plans for the company. It is a great opportunity for Wadworth to expand and make our mark on the capital, and we hope the customers love the new look and feel of The King’s Arms.” You can view Wadworth’s property requirements here.

Mitchells & Butlers is to open a branch of its Miller & Carter concept in Northampton. It already owns the site but has operated it as a Toby Carvery up to now.

Pizza Express will be opening a host of restaurants in Northern Ireland in the next few years, the Belfast Telegraph reports. It will be starting with two openings in Belfast next month—at St Anne’s Square and in the Ballyhackamore area. Carrickfergus, Derry, Newry and Bangor are among the other towns being identified. Pizza Express has three restaurants in Northern Ireland at the moment.

Las Iguanas opened on Charter Way in Braintree earlier this week.

The Loungers group has applied for a licence to open the Brezo Lounge in Cheadle in Greater Manchester. According to the Manchester Evening News, it is also preparing to launch the Molino Lounge in Oldham towards the end of October.

Cha Chaan Teng, a new restaurant inspired by Hong Kong cafes of the 1950s, has opened on Kingsway in London. It has been developed by the Splendid Restaurants group.

High-tech pan-Asian restaurant Inamo will open a third site this winter. It will be by Mornington Crescent station in Camden.

Russell Norman’s Polpo concept opened on Whiteladies Road in the Clifton area of Bristol on Monday (15 August). It is a 60-cover unit.

Epic Pubs has opened its third site: the Mill Street Pub & Kitchen in Oakham. It is a Punch site and has reopened following a major refurbishment to give it 180 covers.

Wahaca will open on South Street in Chichester on 12 September. It will be a 152-cover restaurant.

JD Wetherspoon has set 30 August for the opening of its Iron Duke pub in Wellington in Somerset.

The Original Bowling Company has reopened its Hollywood Bowl at the Middlebrook retail park in Bolton after a £300,000 refurb. The company are looking for new sites across the UK, click here to view their property requirements.

Mexican Restaurant Tijuana are seeking a further 25 restaurant sites, target locations include Bath, Bromley and Reading. View their requirements in full here.

London street diner, Butchies are looking for a restaurant unit in London. Target locations include Soho, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden. You can view their property requirements here.

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