New restaurants and cafes add to the menu of Bishop's Stortford's eating out scene
Bishop’s Stortford’s café and restaurant boom continued this week with four new eateries added to an already extensive menu of food and drink outlets.
As piri piri chicken chain Nando’s prepares to launch a Stortford branch in Potter Street in mid-September, the former Falcon pub and Fountain bar in Dane Street is set to open as a steakhouse.
Its transformation by Zakaria Benabid follows hot on the heels of Chris Sharman’s decision to open a third branch of his Dough&co Woodfired Pizza chain in the former McDonald’s in Anchor Street.
Mr Benabid’s family runs several eateries, including the Wood Grill in what was The Feathers pub in Stansted’s Cambridge Road.
Originally named the Dells, the Falcon was founded by Hawkes Brewery in the 19th century. Between 1903 and 1939 it was used by Bishop’s Stortford Football Club as both a changing room and social club.
After it closed in 2005, the pub was modernised and reopened two years later as The Fountain. In March 2017, it was relaunched by The Only Way is Essex reality TV star James Lock as Club 7.
In North Street, the former Carluccio’s Italian restaurant has been empty since the chain closed its doors in June last year – but now Ahmet Kabayel, a shareholder of Turkish and Italian restaurant Pircio in Market Square, has new plans for the premises.
He has registered Cozzio Ltd with Companies House and is named as a director of the new licensed restaurant business in Boardmans’ old home.
Carluccio’s opened in February 2015 after the closure of French chain Café Rouge, which moved in a year after the stationery store shut up shop in 2010.
Former South Street barbers Kiernander & Co – which lasted just over six months in the former Fishy Biz fish and chip shop in South Street until earlier this year – is now coffee shop Penny & Lou.
The new business, run by mother and daughter Penny Rogers, 59, and Louise Wickens, 32, is family-friendly with a kids’ corner.
Louise said: “Running my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do. After moving to Bishop’s Stortford from London I found it hard to settle into a job that I loved. I saw a gap in the market for a truly family-friendly coffee shop. When Mum said she would like to help and get on board, Penny & Lou was born.”
Louise formerly worked for burger chain Byron while Penny owned coffee shops in Dedham and Colchester.
Nostimo, which opened in South Street in 2015, has moved into the former Save the Children charity shop on the corner of Market Square and Bridge Street, and relaunched on Thursday (August 15).
The Greek coffee shop and deli, run by Dimitrios Tsioupas and his chef wife Vaida, has attracted a loyal following during its time in town. “We have some good customers who are like family now,” said Dimitrios.
The move into the town centre has been prompted by a desire for more footfall; the coffee shop was especially popular at lunchtimes, but these busy spells were confined to a few hours each day.
“We will take on maybe two people for the start,” said Dimitrios.
The town centre changes reflect the national trend – more than a third of change-of-use applications in the last year were to convert retail premises into restaurants or takeaways.