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Five-month wait almost at an end for new Bishop's Stortford restaurant Buffalo Joe's



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Bishop's Stortford's main business support body remains optimistic about the town centre despite closures caused by Covid-19.

While the town has lost its Bill's and Zizzi branches as well as the Gourmeturk restaurant and Water Lane bar, it has made a net gain of places to eat and drink in the last year, including Atkins, Roni's, The Villa and Burger Amour.

Another addition is Buffalo Joe's, and former Birchwood High School student Joey Fairservice and his team will welcome the first diners to his new restaurant in Church Street on Thursday (May 20).

Joey began his award-winning business as a street food trader in 2013, serving burgers and his trademark chicken wings from a Citroen H van.

Eat17's food market in Potter Street, opened by fellow Birchwood old boy James Brundle, was Joey's first foray into eat-in. Five months ago he took the plunge with his own premises in the former Gin Palace, but Covid-19 restrictions mean he has only been able to offer takeaway.

He said: "The team at Buffalo Joe's are super-excited to see the restaurant busy."

Buffalo Joe's, Church Street, Bishop's Stortford – owner Joey Fairservice with Elise Rievett, left, and Meg Phillips outside his new premises which will open on Thursday (May 20). Picture: Vikki Lince
Buffalo Joe's, Church Street, Bishop's Stortford – owner Joey Fairservice with Elise Rievett, left, and Meg Phillips outside his new premises which will open on Thursday (May 20). Picture: Vikki Lince

The launch is a chance to add new items to the menu including chicken tenders, Southern fried chicken and home-made desserts.

Joey said: "The bar will be stocking a variety of interesting drinks, with craft beer from Wylde Sky Brewery, cocktails, vodka made from milk and a selection of gins and rum from Copper in the Clouds." The latter, a distillery at Collier's End near Ware, is run by another Birchwood old boy, James Grant.

Bishop's Stortford BID (Business Improvement District), which was set up to support shops and services, has spent the past 14 months providing help and advice to struggling traders.

As well as practical assistance with sanitiser and social distancing signage and extra security during lockdown, it has helped with grant applications and paid for businesses to join an online shopping platform and for Covid-secure checks for staff and premises.

Bishop's Stortford BID manager Gina Thomas with security shift supervisor Tumininu Olaitan on one of his night shift patrols in town last summer. Picture: Vikki Lince
Bishop's Stortford BID manager Gina Thomas with security shift supervisor Tumininu Olaitan on one of his night shift patrols in town last summer. Picture: Vikki Lince

Now its board, made up of volunteers from companies in the town centre, is looking to the future, with a subsidised parking programme and plans for a town-wide gift card to entice customers back to the high street.

BID manager Gina Thomas said: "Covid and the enforced periods of closure have had a dramatic impact on businesses in the last year. It has, without doubt, presented businesses with the toughest of trading times and, unfortunately, a small number won't be returning.

"In the hospitality sector, we are sad to lose businesses like Zizzi, Bill's, Water Lane and Gourmeturk from our town centre.

"It should, however, be noted that in the last year we have also welcomed Buffalo Joe's, Burger Amour, The Villa, Peach, The Greedy Greek, Hellenic Bakeries, Pasticceria Di Leo, Roni's and Atkins to the town.

"So whilst we have a few empty properties currently, our town is still thriving and these will provide opportunities for other new businesses to come in.

"We have a fabulous range of eating and drinking options, and on Monday (May 17) they'll be able to fully reopen their doors and welcome you inside."



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