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Opening a restaurant in the UK......but where?

(82 Posts)
collision Sat 19-Feb-05 16:35:14

After spending 2 years in Tuscany and opening a restaurant we have decided that we think we want to move back to the UK. I say that we think we have decided as it is a big move back to the UK. We bought everything new for the restaurant here and so would need an empty place to start again. Does anyone know of an empty property that would be suitable for a small fine dining, child friendly restaurant?

DH is the chef and I would be front of house. We also have 2 ds's of 3 and 3 months so would need somewhere to live too. We would prefer to rent to start with so if anyone has any ideas we would be very grateful.

Bellie Sat 19-Feb-05 16:38:25

Don't know of any empty properties that would necessarily be suitable (unless you count an empty little chef restuarant on the A23), but I know that there would be a huge market for this near us (almost in Reigate). There is also rumours that the old town hall in reigate is to be developed for a restuarant but not sure how far that one is along.
Where ever you end up - good luck!

Newbarnsleygirl Sat 19-Feb-05 16:39:29

Don't know of any propertys but please come to Barnsley. It's in desperate need of something like that!

LGJ Sat 19-Feb-05 16:58:50

The only one that would be suitable in Farnham, Surrey is allegedly going to be a wine bar, which is great as it will give the only other wine bar in town a run for its money.

Do let us know where you settle on ??

Tinker Sat 19-Feb-05 17:00:14

at leaving Tuscany to come to the UK.

Tommy Sat 19-Feb-05 17:05:36

please come to Southampton - we have no decent restaurants at all

Yorkiegirl Sat 19-Feb-05 17:10:20

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LGJ Sat 19-Feb-05 17:28:59

Don't listen to her, you would freeze in Leeds after Tuscany.

Surrey is so much warmer

essbee Sat 19-Feb-05 17:32:21

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Newbarnsleygirl Sat 19-Feb-05 17:43:57

Did I mention Barnsley!

WideWebWitch Sat 19-Feb-05 17:55:59

Where do you know here? Where are you from (if you're English)? Do you have any family here? And if so, do you want to be near them or as far away as possible? Do you want to be in a city or somewhere rural? What facilities are important to you? Do you need good links to an airport/motorway for any reason? What type of restaurant do you have in mind? When you say child friendly do you mean like Wacky Warehouse or Carluccios? Or something in between? What type of budget do you have? Just wondered! Otherwise I couldn't even begin to think of somewhere! Oh, and schools, you need to think abut those at some point so presumably that's a consideration too?

SenoraPostrophe Sat 19-Feb-05 18:17:27

Sorry to be nosey, but what made you decide to move back? We might be doing the same in a few years but can't decide where to go. I want to be somewhere where I feel "at home" - so if I were you I'd be thinking about all of www's points.

jampots Sat 19-Feb-05 18:56:16

Obviously depending on what type of restaurant your thinking of opening but Knowle is a very nice thriving village location. About 3 indian restaurants, a thai, chinese, and bistro type are all in Knowle. This property is at the entrance to a small precinct. Locals are affluent and liable to eat out loads but because it is a village people prefer to support village trade rather than go to the local town (3 miles away). I think the paper particulars say it has 20 covers but if you are interested I can get hte details and mail them to you.

froot Sat 19-Feb-05 18:59:16

Hiltingbury in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire please!

Demented Sat 19-Feb-05 19:02:40

Come to Dunfermline! BTW you are mad, why leave Tuscany?

Same question as WWW really do you have friends and family in the UK that you would want to live near?

Tommy Sat 19-Feb-05 20:09:06

Froot - that's very specific! Is Hiltingbury ready for a restaurant?

galaxy Sat 19-Feb-05 20:14:22

2 votes for Farnham then as I miss Severns wine bar and restaurant. (I had my 1st blnd date there with dh).

galaxy Sat 19-Feb-05 20:15:13

Might be able to help you out on the house front too as we may be selling soon. Lovely 3 bed town house within 5minutes walk of town centre for under £300k

collision Sun 20-Feb-05 13:15:58

Great responses! Thank you.

I am English and from Lancashire. DH is Italian. He used to work for the Roux Brothers and Carluccio so you can sort of guess the style he likes to cook. The idea would be to have FAB food but not a stuffy restaurant so that you could take children and not worry about the noise and mess! This is what we do now. Jigsaws and crayons and children's portions etc It just isnt working for us in Tuscany. We live in a very small village and it is SO beautiful.....I couldnt wish to live in a lovelier place but the Tuscans are a nightmare.

All they want to eat is beef and cannellini beans! This is not a joke. They want meat platters, tomato pasta, beef and cannellini beans all day and every day. This is not what DH wants to cook and calls them a bunch of sausage eaters! The sorts of the things we have on our menu are Gorgonzola Souffle with caramelized walnuts and poached pear, pumpkin risotto, venison with polenta or chicken stuffed with smoked ricotta and pancetta etc etc The Tuscans literally do not understand this.

Also, although the beauracracy is over now it is impossible to employ anyone like you can in the UK as it is too expensive. If we move back to the UK it is much easier to employ people and I can take over a lot of the business side of things as I speak the lingo and am not as good at Italian!

Good questions, www. We are more Carluccios than Wacky Warehouse!! I would quite like rural-ish but it needs to be seen by people so not necessarily on a high street but accessible if you see what I mean. My parents are in Lancs and I do NOT want to be on their doorstep so about an hour or so away would be fine.

I am thinking more of the North as it is cheaper and we do not have a budget as we are skint so we need to find a friendly bank!! We bought everything for the restaurant from lights to chairs to cutlery to oven, pans etc we literally have everything so we just need a place to put it all.

Schools we would work around when we got there. We just need to find somewhere that needs a great restaurant we could rent for a while til we can afford to buy and somewhere we could rent to live.

It sounds very scary but we know we are doing the right thing......I will be able to go to the cinema again and to M&S and Next and eat Indian food!!!!!! Bliss!

More thoughts please everyone.

jampots Sun 20-Feb-05 13:37:23

now Warwick would be a gorgeous place to set up too collision

WideWebWitch Sun 20-Feb-05 13:50:04

collision, London would be the place I guess! But it doesn't sound like you want to be there. I'm afraid I am totally unknowledgeable about anywhere North of London, so I can't suggest anywhere.

SenoraPostrophe Sun 20-Feb-05 14:07:13

It's funny you should say that, collision: the Andalucians are not very adventurous with food either. A restaurant opened up near us with a fantastic Moroccan/Spanish menu (and even had - shock! - some vegetarian dishes), but it didn't work and so they reverted to serving the same stuff as everyone else.

Think you should look at any big village near a city/large town as rent will be cheaper. It'll take longer to build the business that way, but it sounds like you'll have people coming from miles around soon! (near Lincoln would be good for me )

tamum Sun 20-Feb-05 14:40:03

This may be too far north for you, but what about one of the lovely coastal towns near Edinburgh? There are a few (very few) really good restaurants in these areas, like La Potiniere , that seem to do very well. There is lots of trade from Edinburgh itself, and lots of golfers on holiday. People do seem willing to travel quiet a way out of town for really good food, and there's quite a foodie culture in Edinburgh itself. I can't think of any restaurants near here that are child friendly and do really good food, the cafe at Valvona is probably the closest. On the downside, the weather is not quite up to Tuscan standards....

Cod Sun 20-Feb-05 14:41:58

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LGJ Sun 20-Feb-05 14:52:03


Speak to me.........where are you thinking of moving to ??? Don't leave me flying the Farnham flag on my own

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