What’s New around Colchester
18 November 2014 by James Bird
There has been a recent flurry of activity in the commercial property side of Colchester town centre over the last few weeks and it appears to be mainly focused on the opening of new restaurants.
Here is just a summary of a few:
Hudson Bar & Grill
The Elysium Group, who operate numerous other Colchester based restaurants, bars and nightclubs including Waikiki, Qube, Mimosa and Dirty Penguin have recently opened their newest addition to their portfolio in Head Street – Hudson’s.
The former site of Bar Nineteen, which closed down back in May 2013, is now home to Hudson New York Bar & Kitchen, a private members club known as XV Lounge and a restaurant called Steak Etc. Inspired by downtown Manhattan, this new venture houses a club in the basement which opens three nights a week and a bar and kitchen on the ground floor. The first floor meanwhile is home to the private members club XV Lounge which aims to provide a luxury service and on the top floor is the restaurant Steak Etc with signature dishes including lobster and ribs.
Providing over 60 new full and part time jobs this can only be a welcome addition to the already thriving nightlife and restaurant scene of the town.
Middletons Steakhouse & Grill
October also saw the grand opening of the new branch of Middletons Steakhouse & Grill. This is the fourth branch opened by restaurateur Stephen Hutton who intends to continue the expansion of this independent chain if his most recent restaurant proves to be a success. When he was interviewed by BigHospitality he explained that he is already looking to his next few establishments and intends to soon reach beyond East Anglia.
Located on North Hill, this new addition to Colchester was a £400k investment to renovate the old red-brick building. It is stated to seat up to 130 customers across a main dining floor and mezzanine area which is open for private functions and provides an additional 15 part-time and full-time jobs as well as retaining all existing staff from the previous employer.
The restaurant itself offers a range of steaks, grills, seafood, and burgers. It would certainly appear that the restaurant industry in Colchester is rapidly expanding and show casing a wider range of themes and styles than ever before.
The Old Courthouse
After relocating from the town hall on the High Street to down by the town train station in 2012, the old magistrates’ court was left open for investment. Since then, it has already seen one investor make the most of the opportunity it offered. Bob Bettis and his family took a lease of the building from Colchester Council and have since set to work opening various establishments.
In 2013 the old town hall library which forms part of the building that housed the magistrates court, was opened as Memoirs Bar and Restaurant. This was then shortly followed by the opening of The Counsel Coffee Lounge in the courthouse entrance. However now, they are seeking investors to help support their latest venture.
Bob Bettis has set his sights on turning the former Colchester magistrates’ courtrooms into restaurants and the cells below into a themed bistro. It certainly is a new idea for the town but to do this Bob and his family may need a financial backer. Having already invested £600,000 in Memoirs and The Counsel, it is believed that a further £800,000 to £1 million is required to turn his vision into reality.