New openings round-up

Leon, Giggling Squid, Abokado and Wagamama round out our latest openings. 

Thai brand Giggling Squid says it has acquired its first ever site in London—a 110-cover restaurant in Wimbledon village. The brand wants to open several more locations within the M25 over the next few years. Giggling Squid co-founder Andy Laurillard said: “We see Brexit as having burst the London bubble a bit, and as prices fall we’ll be looking to capitalize on our strong financial position. The plan is to dramatically expand into the Greater London area over the next few years.” The news follows a Giggling Squid launch in

Farnham last week—its 20th restaurant in all.

You can read a Q&A with co-founder Andy Laurillard here, where he discusses the companies property requirements.

Dirty Liquor, the Ei managed investments partnership between Enterprise Inns and operators Hugh O’Boyle and Caroline Jones, will launch its first venue, The Dog and Duck in Walthamstow, in the spring. It will have an open-plan kitchen specialising in sourdough pizza, while other features include a cinema-style screen for sports and a large outdoor area with cabana huts, food trucks and market stalls. Jones said: “We love Walthamstow so when the opportunity came up to take another site in the area we jumped at it. It’s a very exciting partnership for us—we’ve worked with Enterprise for 16 years and have a great relationship.”

JD Wetherspoon is about to open its new site in Dovercourt in Essex, called the Bottle Kiln. The pub and ten-room hotel will open on 21 March, according to local media.

The ETM group has opened Greenwood, its major new multi-purpose venue at the Nova development in Victoria. It is intended to be a one-stop shop for everything from breakfast to late night, with specialities including pizzas and small plates. The ground floor has an island bar with copper tanks and 60 different gins, while a premium sports lounge operates on the mezzanine level, including big screens, pool tables and a shuffleboard. There is also an in-house barbershop and brow and lashes bar. The venue opens from 8am to midnight.

Pho has acquired an 80-cover restaurant on Bold Street in Liverpool currently operating as Seoul Love. The deal was brokered by CBRE.

Loungers opened its latest new bar and restaurant, the Puerto Lounge, on Exeter Quay on Wednesday (8 February). It is a second venue in the city for the group, joining a branch of its Cosy Club format.

Sugar Dumplin, the Caribbean BBQ, cocktail bar & live music venue are looking for more sites across the UK. You can read a Q&A with the co-founder Ross Mackay here, where he discusses the companies property requirements.

Wagamama has won an appeal that will allow it to open a restaurant in Reigate in Surrey. Its application was initially rejected, prompting a petition of support from local residents. An opening date has yet to be set. Wagamama will meanwhile make its debut in Spain in April with a restaurant in Madrid. It follows a franchise agreement with the local Grupo Vips.

Nando’s will open at the BH2 leisure complex in Bournemouth next Wednesday (15 February). It joins TGI Friday’s at the development, with brands including Las Iguanas, Bella Italia, Handmade Burger Co, Coast to Coast, ASK Italian and Prezzo due to follow soon.

North east Italian concept Una Momento will open a third new restaurant in Middlesbrough in the next few days. Its other locations are in Darlington and Stokesley.

TT Liquor, a new cocktail bar-cum-shop, will launch on Kingsland Road in Shoreditch towards the end of the month. Spread over three floors, it will have a 120-capacity basement bar, specialist liquor store with more than 1,000 different choices, and spaces for tasting sessions and cocktail making classes. The concept has been developed by Alastair Tatton and Stephen Thompson, the pair behind the Umbrella Project collective.

Leon launches its major new site on Shaftesbury Avenue on Monday (13 February). It has achieved widespread advance publicity for its decision to take on staff with backgrounds or talent in drama and music, and who will be able to sing live in the shop.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen has secured approval for its plans to open a restaurant at the Highcross shopping centre in Leicester. It should open in July.

Abokado this week opened in the Harbour Exchange office development near Canary Wharf—its 29th location in all. Founder Mark Lilley said: “For years our loyal customers have been pleading with us to open an Abokado in or around Canary Wharf… finally we’ve arrived.”

You can read a Q&A with Founder Mark Lilley here, he discusses Abokado’s property requirements.

Five operators have been named for the Circus West Village development at Battersea Power Station. They are Duckroad, a sister site to Ducksoup in Soho; burger concept Ben’s Canteen; Danish pizza brand Mother; seafood restaurant Wright Brothers; and gin venture Dodd’s Gin.

Soho Coffee Co continue to seek new sites. Target locations include Richmond, Soho and Canary Wharf. You view their requirements in full here.

The US burger chain, Habit Burger are looking to gain representation in the UK. They have instructed an agent to source them new sites. Target locations include Basingstoke, Beckenham, Bromley and Chiswick. You can view their requirements in full here.

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