Eat 17 departures: Buffalo Joe's to open restaurant in old Gin Palace while Katsu Charlie's off to the Wheatsheaf
Former Birchwood High School student Joey Fairservice is set to open his first restaurant in his home town.
His Buffalo Joe's brand of chicken wings, burgers, fries and dips is already a firm favourite with diners at Eat 17's street food market in Potter Street and now he is moving across the road to Church Street.
Refurbishment of the former Gin Palace owned by Roy and Natalia Parrish is under way and he hopes to open at the start of 2021.
Joey started his business in 2013, inspired by London's renowned food market in Whitecross Street, Islington, and began creating crowd-pleasing chicken takeaways, with wings as his signature dish, sold from a converted Citroen H van.
He expanded his business in 2014 with a pitch at foodPark, Cambridge's street food collective, and picked up an award at London WingFest.
Then, in 2015, disaster struck when a gas leak in his truck caused a terrible accident and he had to be airlifted to the burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford for specialist treatment.
After his family encouraged him to continue building his business, he took a stand in Eat 17, set up by fellow former Birchwood student James Brundle and his step-brother Chris O'Connor, and has been wowing Bishop's Stortford foodies ever since.
He said: "We're looking to open at the start of the new year. We'll be looking to have about 40 covers in the new restaurant.
"In the future, we'll be looking at adding to our already amazing team, but currently we still have a couple of members furloughed so need to get those guys back to work first."
The new restaurant will have extended opening hours, from 11am to 11pm. Joey said: "New items on the menu will include new sides and southern fried chicken pieces as well as new wing flavours and burgers. We'll be serving beers, wines and cocktails too.
"We'd just like to give a massive shout out to all our brilliant customers who have continued to support us through the pandemic. They really have shown small business love to us and we cannot wait to welcome them to our new place."
Joey's neighbour at Eat 17, Japanese-themed Katsu Charlie, is also on the move, taking up a residency at the Wheatsheaf pub in Northgate End from Thursdays to Saturdays, starting this Thursday (Dec 3).
James Brundle, who founded Eat 17 in 2006 with a neighbourhood grocery and bistro in Walthamstow and now also has outlets in Hackney and Hammersmith, is getting ready to introduce new traders to the street food market, which runs in tandem with his Spar grocery store. "We have some amazing guys lined up," he said.
Yaay Yaay, which serves traditional Thai food, will replace Katsu Charlie in December. Buffalo Joe's replacement will be announced in January.