New openings round-up

Saint Aymes, Le Bab, Franco Manca, Cosmo and Dirty Martini are a handful of this week's new openings.

TRG Concessions has signed a franchise partnership with BrewDog to open bars in airports and railway stations around the UK. The first location should be open later this year, adopting a wider food menu as well as craft beer. BrewDog currently has 32 managed bars and another 17 franchised sites internationally. TRG Concessions managing director Nick Ayerst said: “TRG Concessions are very excited to be joining forces with BrewDog and look forward to partnering them in their mission to spread the word about great beer by bringing their craft beer bars to UK airports and railway stations.”

Casual Dining Group has secured a contract to run the DUBL wine bar brand in the UK. The brand, specialising in sparkling wines and Italian food, will open its first UK site at Luton airport in the next few weeks. DUBL is run by wine producer Feudi di San Gregorio and currently has three sites in Italy. More UK sites are likely to follow at airports and other travel hubs. CDG’s managing director of concessions and franchising Mark Nelson said: “We are delighted to add DUBL to our ever-growing concessions portfolio. The UK sparkling wine category has seen exponential growth over recent years and we feel there is scope for more DUBL outlets.

Indian street food concept Rola Wala is opening as part of the food offer in Selfridges in Birmingham on 19 February. It joins Rola Wala branches in London’s Spitalfields, Trinity Kitchen in Leeds and Westgate in Oxford.

Cocktail bar group Dirty Martini will open in Birmingham in April, local media report. It has taken on a restaurant site on Bennetts Hill previously occupied by Viva Brazil.

American custom sandwich brand Which Wich is to make its debut in the UK in the St Giles Plaza in Central St Giles. A deal for a 750 square feet site was brokered by CDG Leisure. The UK launch for the brand is being led by the AAA Investment House and is being overseen by experienced casual restaurant leader Kevin Todd, formerly managing director at Mitchells & Butlers. AAA managing director Rami Awada said: “London is a truly international city with tons of energy and the Which Wich brand is just the perfect fit. We have witnessed the high-quality burger revolution and we now feel London is perfectly placed to receive our hot, premium quality sandwiches.” Which Wich plans to find 10 London sites before a wider UK rollout.

Nando’s has confirmed an opening at the Orchard Centre in Didcot in Oxfordshire. It has taken on a 2,600 square feet unit as part of the centre’s expansion, which will start to open from the spring.

All-day operator Bill’s is launching three new concept sites to test out a new offer. The revamps to Bill’s branches in Covent Garden, Westfield and St Albans include new menu items suited to each branch, including small places at Covent Garden and sharing options in St Albans, plus enhanced brunch menus and lighter options. All three venues will have seated bar areas with bar food including dips and nibbles alongside cocktails and other drinks. The new-look St Albans site is already open, with Covent Garden and Westfield to follow soon.

Camerons Brewery’s Head of Steam pub operation is to open on Market Street in Leicester as it continues an expansion around the UK. It will open in April, according to the Leicester Mercury, replacing the Reynard pub on Market Street.

Barbecue concept Hickory’s Smokehouse has opened its seventh site—at the former Pageant pub in Southport. It has taken a free-of-tie lease with Ei Commercial Properties—its second such lease with the business after a pub in Rhos-on-Sea. Hickory’s chief executive Neil McDonnell said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached agreement with Ei Commercial Properties on this site. It has had a very positive response from the local community in the early days of trading.”

All-you-can-eat buffet brand Cosmo has just opened its new flagship restaurant on Deansgate. The site has 350 covers over three floors and offers around 160 different dishes.

Franco Manca has applied for permission to open in Bath. It plans to take on a unit previously occupied by Grillstock.

Arc InspirationsBanyan Bar & Kitchen brand is opening in Manchester’s Spinningfields in the summer. The 230-cover site will be Banyan’s eighth venue and its second in Manchester after the Corn Exchange. Arc is also taking the Manahatta bar brand to Manchester later in the year. Chief executive Martin Wolstencroft said: “We know Banyan is going to ooze sophistication and be a fantastic addition to the vibrant Spinningfields area.”

Soho kebab restaurant Le Bab has confirmed an opening on the new Mercer Walk development on Seven Dials in Covent Garden in the spring. The new restaurant will be called Maison Bab and combine a menu of kebabs, mezze, sides and desserts with a cocktail and craft beer bar and chef’s table. The site will have 40 covers on the ground floor and 30 in a basement area. Co-founder Stephen Tozer said: “Maison Bab represents a completely new concept for us. We love Le Bab, and wouldn’t change it for the world. But at Maison Bab we’ll be offering something punchier, bolder, and more surprising. We’ve been developing this concept for over a year, so we’re incredibly excited to unveil what we’ve been working on.”

The Titanic Brewery is to open a craft beer and café at Stoke station. It is redeveloping the old first class lounge at the station.

Harrogate seafood restaurant Fisk has opened a second site in Prestbury in Cheshire. The Yorkshire Post reports it is planning more openings.

KerbEdge, a New York-style burger restaurant in Hull, has just opened a second site in Sheffield. The 110-cover restaurant is in the city’s Devonshire Quarter. KerbEdge launched in Hull in 2014.

Luxury chocolate brand Saint Aymes has just opened a boutique-style café at Connaught Village in London’s Hyde Park Estate.

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