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NRB TOP FIFTY 2015 The Best Northern Operators @nrbtop50

In association with

Is delighted to support the NRB Top 50 Specialist lawyers to the licensed trade • Licensing

WELCOME Welcome to the fourth NRB Top 50, the prestigious and much anticipated powerlist of the most important and influential individuals within the Northern hospitality industry. This year we have an expanded judging panel of hospitality experts in finance, property, legal and operational consultancy, meaning our final fifty endured more in-depth research and agonised deliberation than ever before.

• Corporate • Commercial • Employment • Commercial Property

The list itself has evolved but most noticeable has been the expansion and diversification of established and successful operators as the economy has improved. The latest research from CGA Peach shows that the growth in Northern city centre food and drink scenes has outperformed that of London, and it is the people on this list who are driving the region’s industry forward.

• Intellectual Property • Tax • Litigation “If you’re not using Kuits for your licensing, you are using the wrong firm.” Tim Bacon, Living Ventures For more information contact Anthony Lyons on +44 (0)161 832 3434 or email

The law firm of choice

To those included in this prestigious list I say congratulations, and to the judges and generous sponsors I say a heartfelt thank you for your time and support. Enjoy the reception, with wine and canapés from award-winning suppliers and artisan producers, and take the time to explore Northern Restaurant & Bar. We hope to see you all again, after another successful year, in March 2016.

Thom Hetherington CEO Northern Restaurant and Bar

3 St Mary’s Parsonage, Manchester M3 2RD

tel: +44 (0)161 832 3434

The Best Northern Operators




Owner Ainscoughs

Director Mughli

Started in 1996 by Martin & Helen Ainscough, the “group” started with The Eagle and Child in Parbold and from there places such as Ziba in Liverpool were conceived and old favorites that were steeped in history were acquired and encouraged to prosper under new friendly ownership, namely The Wizard in Cheshire. Time and sheer hard work has allowed the group to prosper into what is now a boutique company, offering superb establishments and hotels with excellent food and drink.


In association with Kuits Solicitors Kuits Solicitors is a leading commercial law firm based in Manchester. Top-ranked for licensing in Chambers and Legal 500, we work closely with clients to understand their needs and objectives, and provide tailored legal solutions. “If you’re not using Kuits for your licensing, you are using the wrong firm.” Tim Bacon, Living Ventures. Supported by

The Russell Partnership is a strategic consultancy specialising in Catering, Conferencing, Events and Leisure markets, to deliver bespoke strategies, market and customer insight, creative design solutions, operational implementation and commercially viable results. The Partnership’s 24 years’ experience as well as their innovative and agile approach have earned them global recognition and an impressive client portfolio.

The principal activity of BDO is the provision of professional services to clients. We are a firm of Chartered Accountants and business advisers. We specialise in helping businesses, whether start-ups or multinationals, to achieve their goals. Through our own professional expertise and by working directly with organisations, we have developed a robust understanding of the factors that govern business growth. Our objective is to use this to help our clients maximise their potential.

Our role is one of strategic advisor to both landlords and tenants on single unit to complex mixed use developments not only in respect of new lettings but also on proactive long term management programmes. From boutique re-developments to urban entertainment centres. At pivotal moments we ensure positive transformation for our client – always maximising value and managing the public perception of our client’s brand.

MARK ANDREW Owner Mark Andrew Developments

With a portfolio of brands in the MAD family including Walrus, Tusk, Hula tiki lounge, The Fitzgerald and Rosylee, Mark Andrew has developed a diverse set of successful operations in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

Director Mughli

Haz, a former corporate lawyer, leads the North-West operations for the group and Sax is charged with overseeing growth & diversification both in the North-West and London. Mughli was established in 1991 and has two restaurants operating in Manchester & Knutsford, as well as The Railway Cafe & Gin Bar in Alderley Edge, a pop-up collaboration with chef David Gale. Based on the success of the family-run business, the ‘Zanna Group’ was formed by the brothers under which all restaurants operate, including newbie Damson & Co, a coffee shop wine bar in the heart of Soho, and the soon to open Queenswood, a neighbourhood restaurant in Battersea Square. Talks are also currently underway for a new concept in Manchester’s Northern Quarter later in the year.

With thanks to

Hosted by NRB 2015 NORTHERN RESTAURANT & BAR 17–18 March Manchester Central Exhibition | Debate | Awards

Northern Restaurant & Bar has been established for fifteen, years and is the largest hospitality trade show in the North of England. Taking place at Manchester Central every Spring the exhibition has over 270 exhibitors, over fifty demos and tastings and has become the ‘must see’ event for over 7,000 operators from restaurants, bars, hotels and pubs across the North of England. NRB TOP FIFTY 2015

The Best Northern Operators





Chef Patron The Art School

Owner Aagrah Group

CEO Living Ventures

Managing Director Northcote

Paul is chairman of the Tourism Business Network and has helped push food tourism to the front of Liverpool’s bid to become a truly international destination. Paul is also chair of Liverpool’s Restaurant Association and has been the inspiration behind

Mohammed Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1953 and moved to the UK in 1970. He is married with 5 children and lives in Bradford.



Director Living Ventures

Chef Patron Northcote

Merseyside’s thriving food and drink festivals as founder stakeholder. He is currently Chef Patron of The Art School which opened in Liverpool in Spring 2014. In May 2013 he was made a fellow of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and is now joint chair for the North of England. He has been a National Committee member for the chefs AAA awards (Applied Ability Awards) since 2008.

His first job was working for London transport before moving to Bradford at the request of his older brother Sabir. In the mid-seventies Sabir opened his first restaurant and asked Aslam to join him as a waiter in his Shipley enterprise. Transferring to kitchen duties, Aslam immediately set about improving the knowledge he had gained from his family traditions and the food eaten in his native Kashmiri homeland. The group now boasts one of the most extensive ranges of authentic dishes created from Aslam’s travels throughout the Middle East and South Asian subcontinent. Along with his brothers Sabir & Iqbal, Aslam founded the Aagrah Group of Restaurants in 1977. The group has expanded to the present day; now boasting 16 successful sites, a hotel and a banqueting and conference suite. The group is a major employer and employs over 400 employees. Aslam was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ABDN Dinner 2010. He was awarded an MBE for his services to the Hospitality Industry in the New Year’s Honour List in 2010 and was named Best Ethnic Chef by his industry peers at the Craft Guild of Chefs in 2009.

Serial entrepreneur and former actor Tim Bacon came over to England from Australia in 1987 looking to travel the world, make a fortune and return home to a heroic welcome from family and friends after a couple of years…they are still waiting. Jeremy started his career washing dishes in his Dad’s hotel and some say peaked too early! Moving away from the corporate world of large hotel companies to the less corporate world of small hotel companies he built and opened a new hotel in Lancashire and successfully ran a large nightclub as well as two hotels and then he met Tim. The rest is history and the Living Ventures Group today employs 1300 like minded individuals through 33 units and 7 different brands, Gusto, Blackhouse, the Alchemist, Australasia, the New World Trading Company, Artisan and most recently Manchester House. They are currently expanding The Alchemist bar in Spinningfields, Manchester following its successful opening in Leeds. A fourth site is planned for the concept in London near Aldgate in May. More openings are planned for later in the year.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Craig took up the challenge of making Northcote Manor one of the most reputable hotel restaurants in the North West and was joined in 1984 by Nigel Haworth as Head Chef and then in 1989 as joint Managing Director. The combination of improved service and a quality wine list helped them gain the restaurant’s Michelin star in 1996 which is successfully retained to this day. Accolades include the Visit England Gold Award 2012/2013 and the Visit England Breakfast Award 2012/2013. This year also sees Northcote secure a well deserved place in the Top 50 restaurants listed in the Good Food Guide 2015. In recent years they have masterminded a multi million pound redevelopment of Northcote, as well as the expansion of The Northcote Leisure group which comprises Northcote, Northcote at the Rovers (banqueting, conference and events at Blackburn Rovers FC) and Ribble Valley Inns (a portfolio of award-winning food led pubs). And if all that isn’t enough 2015 once again saw the return of Obsession, now in its 15th year, Northcote’s annual homage to the finest food and wine is firmly established as one of Europe’s premier gastronomic events.


The Best Northern Operators





Managing Director Bravo Inns

Chief Executive Officer Gusto

Operations Director Revolution Bars Group plc

Chairman San Carlo Group

Ken is a pub industry ‘lifer’ having spent 35 years in the industry ending as a Director with Greenalls Group Plc. Bravo Inns was formed in 2007 and has 27 pubs and continues to expand at approximately seven acquisitions per year.

Little did Sue know when she took a job in a bar in Chester to have some fun, where it would lead! Sue is now the Chief Executive Officer at the Gusto Group with ambitious expansion plans.



MARIE CARTER Owner Beautiful Drinks

BEAU MYERS Owner Beautiful Drinks

Beau and Marie Carter are the brains behind Manchester institutions Keko Moku, Home Sweet Home, Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn and the ‘burgers and booze’ concept of Almost Famous. The latter operation has become a flagship brand, with a site flourishing in Liverpool, a recent opening in Leeds and the original Manchester restaurant as well an enormous space in the Great Northern development. 2015 will see a further ramping up of operations.


Sue’s roles have included Concept Manager of The Living Room, Director of Training and Development with responsibility for the rebranding of the Est Estate into Gusto and Operations Director at Living Ventures, developing a number of brands including, The Oast House, Botanist, The Alchemist and Artisan.

MORGAN DAVIES Founder Barburrito

Davies co-founded Barburrito, the UK’s first burrito bar, with business partner Paul Kilpatrick in 2005. Having expanded to six sites across the north-west, and one in the capital they continue the company’s mission to be the most loved burrito brand on the planet including another in London. The UK burrito sector is taking off and, with a passion for great value, healthy food, excellent service and cool restaurants, Barburrito is well placed to lead the way.

CEO Revolution Bars Group plc

Jimmy Del Giudice has worked as Inventive’s operations manager for the last ten years, developing its growing Revolucion de Cuba brand in particular. In his new role as Operations Director of Inventive Leisure he joins Inventive’s board The group has 53 Revolution bars and five Revolucion de Cuba, Latin Americanthemed joints. Chief Executive Mark McQuater believes that there is a growing market for both the Cuban-themed bars and the Revolution chain. Plans are afoot to open nine sites over the next two years and eventually to expand the group to 140 sites.

Managing Director San Carlo Group

This multi-award winning, family-owned and run restaurant group started in1992 when Carlo Distefano opened his first San Carlo restaurant in Birmingham. Since then, the reputation and presence of San Carlo has grown and now boasts high profile, multi-award winning San Carlo, Cicchetti, (Cicchetti Piccadilly, London winner “Italian Restaurant Gold Award” at national PAPA Awards 2013), Signor Sassi and Fumo restaurants in Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Roundhay, Leicester, Liverpool and London. The company’s expansion has gained momentum in the last few years with openings including San Carlo Fiorentina in Hale, San Carlo Bottega and La Dolce Farmacia in Manchester’s Selfridges and San Carlo Fumo opening in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square. Internationally, there are currently three Signor Sassi restaurants in the Middle East and one in Bangkok. The Cicchetti concept has also had 2 successful restaurant openings in London Piccadilly and Covent Garden as well as Bangkok. Quite simply a Manchester success story exported around the world.

The Best Northern Operators





Co-Owner Reds True BBQ

Director Flying Pig & Lobster

Owner MOJO

Managing Director Leelex



Co-Owner Reds True BBQ

Director Flying Pig & Lobster

Legendary bar operator Mal Evans; celebrating over 25 years in the industry with the MOJO bars holding the prestigious CLASS Awards Best of the Best and Best Good Time Awards and announcing MOJOEats.

Ged Feltham, founder/owner of Leelex Ltd, was one of the first to blaze the trail for the independent bar scene in Leeds, opening up the now legendary Oporto 18 years ago. This was followed by Jake’s Bar, Neon Cactus, and Cielo Blanco all in Leeds, and Portobello Star in London. The recent launch of Portobello Road No.171 Gin has expanded the portfolio and the opening of Cielo secures Ged’s place as one of the most innovative food and drink entrepreneurs in the UK.

James Douglas and Scott Munroe are co-founders of Red’s True Barbeque. Reds is an authentic smokehouse serving a huge range of meats cooked “low n slow” using hickory and fruit woods in custom made American smokers imported form the US. Winners of the Newcomer Award at the Catey’s 2014, they successfully opened a Manchester restaurant in 2014 following two in Leeds and have ambitious plans to open another 20 restaurants.

SIMON RIMMER Chef Patron Flying Pig & Lobster

RadioMOJO also gathers momentum, attracting worldwide listeners as well as local requests for partnerships; and an expanding family – this is a genuinely exciting time for one of the nicest men in the industry.

CLEO FARMAN Simon Rimmer has teamed up with Roy Ellis and Neil Macleod, founders of the Revolution chain of bars, in a new venture named Flying Pig and Lobster, with £4 million in funding, they have so far acquired the Elephant Pub and Bubble Room in Woolton and have ambitious plans to roll out another 5 sites in 2015 and up to 12 thereafter.

Owner Odd Bar

Cleo set up Odd Bar eight years ago and has since completed the trilogy with the successful Odder & Oddest bars situated on Oxford Road and Chorlton. The original Odd Bar was extended into a larger two floor venue, and Oddest was completely refurbished in the Autumn of 2014. Cleo also opened the ever so Parisien Blue Pig in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim. With the recent sale of the Odder bar on Oxford Road Cleo is set to focus on the expansion of the Blue Pig restaurant in the Northern Quarter, as well as refurbishing Oddest bar in Chorlton.


JOBE FERGUSON Co-Director Black Dog/ The Liars Club Group

ROSS MCKENZIE Co-Director Black Dog/ The Liars Club Group

Together Jobe & Ross have ensured the Black Dog Ballroom brand has become a main stay of the Northern Quarter and Manchester as a New York Style speakeasy, diner and pool room offering a new experience for people wanting a night out. The Dog Bowl city centre bowling concept takes the leisure offering to the next step with the ever popular Underdog and the current redevelopment of a popular café site in Manchester’s NQ. In addition Jobe also operates the Northern Quarter Restaurant and Bar recommended four years running in the Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland, as well as the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2013 & 2014 and Harden’s Guide 2013. The Best Northern Operators




Owner The Apartment Group

Co-Director The Liars Club Group

Managing Director Hydes Brewery

Based in Newcastle, this rapidly expanding group employs over 500 people and now has 11 venues in its varied portfolio, including an award winning restaurant, city centre bars and clubs, a neighbourhood bar, and boutique hotel. Recent openings include the impressive Newton Hall hotel and House of Smith club and members lounge. The 12th venue ‘Liberty Brown’ opened in July 2013.

As Co-Director of The Liars Club with Jobe Ferguson and Ross McKenzie, Lyndon has overseen the development of the massively successful The Liars Club, a Tiki Dive Bar and Caribbean Rum Shop near the busy Spinningfields, as well as launching Crazy Pedros and Cane & Grain.

Established in 1863 Hydes, under the leadership of Chris Hopkins, has seen its turnover increase to £18.5million and profit increase by 25 per cent to £1.77m in 2014, largely following a restructuring process in 2012 which saw it move its operations from Moss Side to MediaCityUK.


JAMES HITCHEN Managing Director Neighbourhood/ Southern 11


Kevin is responsible for the operations and commercial teams at Admiral Taverns, and as such is the driving force behind a raft of operational developments and initiatives, and the group’s stated aim of becoming widely recognised as the UK’s best operator of tenanted community pubs. Having started his working life in the armed forces, Kevin held senior management roles in a number of industry-related companies including brewer Molson Coors, prior to Admiral. He is a former operations director of leased pub company Punch Taverns. 2014 saw the purchase of 111 pubs and bars from Heineken in a bid to become the leading community pub group and also the roll out of a scheme to provide all licensees with unique cask beer for their pub, as well as launching a craft beer range.


Chris Hopkins has ambitious plans for more acquisitions, successful pub refurbishments and the conversion of selected sites from tenanted to managed house operation, with a strong focus on food-led quality pubs and their artisan Beer Studio .

Director Neighbourhood/ Southern 11

Restaurant entrepreneurs James and Karina Hitchen have seen their establishments Southern Eleven, Neighbourhood and new launch Victors go from strength to strength. Southern Eleven and Neighbourhood Restaurant & Bar are currently on target to reach £5 million in annual gross sales trading this year and they are keen to build on their American inspired concepts with the launch of additional sites in the City with sites in Liverpool also being researched. Neighbourhood was shortlisted for Bar of the Year in the Manchester Food & Drink awards and this month won an Eat Drink Sleep Award.

Chef Patron 21 Hospitality Group

Since opening his first restaurant in Newcastle in 1988 and winning a Michelin star three years later, chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne has become a North East institution and one of the UK’s most highly regarded chefs. His 21 Hospitality Group now operates five restaurants including his flagship Café 21.

WILLIAM LEES JONES Managing Director JW Lees

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD William Lees-Jones is Managing Director of JW Lees, owners of JW Lees Brewery, JW Lees Pubs, The Alderley Edge Hotel, The Trearddur Bay Hotel and Willoughby’s Wine Merchants and has been at the forefront of reshaping and revitalising an already sucessful established brewery business for the 21st century. JW Lees is a sixth-generation family business which employs just over 1,100 people, 150 at the brewery and site in Middleton Junction in North Manchester and 950+ in its 35 managed pubs, as well as letting a further 130 tied pubs to self-employed tenants. They have ambitious plans to invest £67.5m over the next five years in buying and developing 65 new pubs in the North West that will create up to 1,000 roles, an example of this being the Duttons café bar brand which has enjoyed successful openings in Chester and Manchester. JW Lees were awarded the 2013 Manchester Evening News Business of the Year as well as being a finalist in the 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year and the PWC 2014 Private Business Awards.

Terry received an MBE for his contribution to the restaurant industry and tourism and recently announced he will be working as consultant chef at landmark venue Sage Gateshead with Lindley Heritage as part of their £12.5 million catering contract. The Broad Chare continues to receive praise and won Best New Entry in the 2015 Good Food Guide top 50 pubs.

The Best Northern Operators





General Manager The Midland

Managing Partner 60 Hope Street

Director Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill

Chef Patron Pipe and Glass

The driving force behind the success of the iconic Midland hotel, Mike is responsible for it’s strategic development and has been since he arrived in Manchester in 2004 to oversee the hotel’s £15 million refurbishment.



Chef Patron 60 Hope Street

Director Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill

Gary and Colin’s family owned and run restaurant group is based around Liverpool’s iconic Hope St and included the flagship 60 Hope Street, which prides itself on its cuisine and service, as well as Asian fusion restaurant Host and Quarter Restaurant and Deli Kitchen.

Tomas Maunier is of Brazilian-Argentine descent and he trained as a lawyer in Buenos Aires before moving to England to work in marketing. Here he met restaurateur Robert Melman a fellow Argentinian who started working in the hospitality industry back in 1999 and together in 2006 they established their first restaurant in Huddersfield.

James Mackenzie is chef and owner of The Pipe and Glass Inn at South Dalton near Beverley – East Yorkshire’s first Michelinstarred restaurant. The Pipe and Glass is the Good Food Guide’s County Dining Pub of the Year for 2014, and was recently placed at number 4 in the Morning Advertiser/ Budweiser Budvar Top 50 Gastropub Awards. In 2013 it won the Pub and Bar Award in the prestigious Cateys, the ‘Oscars’ of the Restaurant industry and was also the Michelin Dining Pub of the Year 2012. James’ first book, On the Menu, won Best First UK Cookbook in the international Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for 2013. The were awarded The Good Pub Guide’s County Dining Pub of the Year 2014 and awarded a Michelin Star for the 5th consecutive year.

The hotel has continued to grow and develop under his leadership and 2013 saw the refurbishment and re-branding of its two restaurants alongside Michelin starred chef, Simon Rogan, to great acclaim. In addition to The Midland, Mike sits on the QHotels Executive Committee and also holds a Regional General Manager role for the North, mentoring and overseeing the development of the teams at three other QHotels properties: The Queens in Leeds, Crewe Hall, Cheshire and Park Royal, Warrington. They were recently awarded the AA Hotel group of the Year 2014/2015 and Mr Cooper’s House & Garden was listed in the Conde Naste Traveller Gold List.

After attending catering college in Liverpool and training as a chef in restaurant in London and Australia, Gary Manning returned to his hometown in 1997 with the hope of achieving his dream of opening a restaurant before he reached his 30th birthday. His brother Colin has also honed his hospitality skills, in front-of-house roles and as a relations manager for British Airways. They were recently shortlisted in Merseyside Independent Business Awards as Independent Hospitality Business of the Year 2014.


Alongside two other partners they founded the highly successful Fazenda restaurants, firstly in Leeds, then Liverpool and from November 2014, Manchester. They have kept the tradition of the Gaucho alive, slowly grilling meat the way it has been done for centuries. At Fazenda freshly-grilled joints of meat are carved from joints at the table with exceptional standards of service. They have ambitious plans for the future.

STEPHEN MILES General Manager Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester

Stephen Miles is the General Manager of the multi award winning Radisson Blu Edwardian Free Trade Hall, Manchester. He holds the role of Chair of the NW Regional Hoteliers Association. He is the founder of The Hotel Future Foundation which will be a concept of Hospitality Academies across the country, the first of which is currently being constructed in Greater Manchester. His previous experience includes THF and Hilton hotels prior to joining Edwardian Group London where he has been a member of the senior management team for 25 years. He also sits on the boards of Hospitality Action and Visit Manchester.

The Best Northern Operators





Co-Owner New Moon Co

Managing Director Seafood Pub Company

Owner Sandinista

Director Damson Group


Joycelyn studied geography at Liverpool University with plans to become a commodity analyst advising investment companies. But having grown up around catering the food industry was something which couldn’t be walked away from. Working for a London based events company and restaurants and bars in Manchester followed by six months studying the coastal food industry in South America, her passion for the highest quality food backed by distinctive service led to the creation of the Seafood Pub Company in 2010. Now in 2015 with a seventh site about to open and a reputation built on the original key values of quality ingredients, informal service and sites all with their own personality, the goal is continued growth into different locations adding bedrooms and banqueting facilities. The Seafood Pub Company was named Restaurant magazine’s R200 Pub Company of the Year in 2014.

Si Ord opened Sandinista Leeds in 2002, named after the Clash’s forth album and Nicaraguan revolutionary party the ‘Sandinistas’, everything about this small and enigmatic bar reflects Si’s nonconformist spirit and complex ethos. The success of Sandinista Leeds led Si to open its Manchester equivalent in 2011 whilst his New Orleans inspired Speak Easy, Smokestack Leeds, has gone from strength to strength since its opening in 2007. Blind Tyger, in Leeds has been recently joined by new opening the Black Swan restaurant.



The ventures have so far won a string of awards from Manchester Food and Drink Festival, Cheshire Life, The Independent and The Observer and the Lancashire Life Food & Drink awards. They have plans for further openings in Manchester in 2015.

Co-Owner New Moon Co

Established in 2011 the New Moon Co has grown to 6 establishments and over 140 employees. It has been an exciting year with 2 more sites in Manchester and Chester with new brand concepts Beef & Pudding and The Mockingbird Taproom. With ambitious future plans driven by Paul Newman and David Mooney, they are set to open further sites in Manchester as well as the Blind School Restaurant and Pub in Liverpool which will seat 280 diners and create around 40 jobs in 2015. Significant investment has been made this year into the two new brands and the Manchester site was completely gutted and redesigned. Over 50 additional staff have been employed this year with the two new sites and also the head office team has been bolstered. New Moon Co named business of the year in Cheshire Business Awards.

EAMONN O’LOUGHLIN Owner Eclectic Hotels

As owner of Eclectic Hotels, Eamonn oversees the running of the private member’s club ‘On The 7th’ at Media City and three uniquely styled and furnished hotels. Great John Street, Manchester, Didsbury House and Eleven Didsbury Park. A new site, The Booth Street Hotel, the second in Manchester city centre, will be opening in Spring 2015. Great John Street was also recently nominated in ‘The Best Kept Secret Awards 2014’.


Chef Patron The Star at Harome/ Star Inn The City

Director Damson Group

Together as Damson Group Steve Pilling and Simon Stanley have opened independent fine dining restaurants – Damson Heaton Moor, Damson Media City UK, The Red Lion High Lane and The Dockyard along with the newest addition Guilt By Association.

Andrew Pern’s name is synonymous with that of his pub, The Star Inn at Harome, consistently appearing on a host of awards lists, including a Michelin star held from 2002 to 2010 inclusive. The loyal following for Andrew’s highly seasonal and instinctively ‘local’ food has placed this picturesque North Yorkshire Moors village pub, with its boutique 9-bedroomed hotel, firmly on the destination location map. With two acclaimed books, ‘Black Pudding and Foie Gras’ and ‘Loose Birds and Game’, Andrew is also a regular contributor to a number of publications as well as a popular ‘performer’ at local food festivals. In 2011 he found the time to take part in BBC2’s ‘Great British Menu’, and the ‘Hairy Bikers’. Autumn 2013 saw the opening of ‘The Star Inn The City’ in York, a Brasserie style all-day dining concept on the banks of the River Ouse. 2014 saw Andrew Pern was nominated for best Pub Restaurant Chef in Craft Guild of Chefs Awards and the Star at Harome regained its Michelin star. The Best Northern Operators





Director Red and Blue

Managing Director Frederic Robinson

Chef Patron L’Enclume

General Manager The Chester Grosvenor


Oliver heads up the brewing, packaging brands and sales areas at this Family run business that celebrated its175th year last September. Having won the BBPA Beer Company of the Year in 2013 Robinsons hit the headlines with its beer brand Trooper in association with rock band Iron Maiden. It has invested in a £6m brewhouse and £2m Visitor Centre offering Apprenticeships and Cellar Training.

Simon uses luxury ingredients, market produce, foodstuffs farmed on the premises of L’Enclume in Cartmel, with delicate flavours of flowers, herbs and other foraged items. This, coupled with a love for innovative and unusual technique, has informed his style – leading to dishes which look astonishing, play tricks on the senses and change constantly.

Director Red and Blue

Jonathan Poole and Patrick Smith who have worked together since 1999 have developed an independent award winning restaurant group that owns and operates 3 successful restaurants in Liverpool. Hanover Street Social, Salt House Tapas and Salt House Bacaro. Red and Blue Restaurants Ltd was founded in 2010 with 2014 seeing the opening of their latest concept in the Liverpool business district a Venetian tapas restaurant and bar called BACARO.

There are plans for refurbishments and re-openings in 2014 and recent projects include working with Simon Rimmer to create range of accompaniment beers. In 2014 Old Tom won Silver and Dizzy Blonde won Gold at International Beer Challenge 2014. Robinsons won family business of the year in North West Entrepreneur Awards 2013.

L’Enclume’s Michelin star, TV and press coverage led Rogan to expand his empire with a move into Manchester’s Midland Hotel where he now has two restaurants, The French and Mr Cooper’s House and Garden. In 2014 The French received 4 AA rosettes and L’Enclume was number one in the Good Food Guide, with The French and new Fera at Claridges in London also featured. Simon has recently announced that he has plans to open another Mr Coopers style restaurant in Cumbria and a fish-orientated restaurant on the South Coast.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD With a career spanning three decades, Managing Director Jonathan Slater has been at the helm of The Chester Grosvenor since 1st August 1983. He personally supervised every aspect of a multi million pound refurbishment which transformed the handsome Grade II listed building , and the creation of two award winning restaurants, La Brasserie and Arkle – since renamed Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor, which has been awarded a Michelin star for an incredible 25 consecutive years. A founder director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World Jonathan recently ended his third term as chairman. He is also a director of Marketing Cheshire actively encouraging investment and tourism to the region as well as a Director of CH1 BID company, improving the city of Chester’s retail and infrastrtucture. Jonathan received the prestigious Catey Award as “Manager of the Year” in July 2002 and joined the elite ranks of the Master Innholders in 2003. He was presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Chester Food and Drink Festival in 2010. Jonathan will be retiring from his role as Managing Director of the Chester Grovenor at the end of this month, but will remain involved with the Grosvenor Estate in a strategic consultancy role with the Oddfellows brand, the boutique hotel, on Lower Bridge Street as they plan to open a second Oddfellows site in Cheadle, South Manchester.


The Best Northern Operators

RICHARD SMITH Chef Patron Brewkitchen

Richard William Smith is a classically trained chef. After working his way around the states, Smithy returned home to Yorkshire to set up in his hometown of Sheffield a small dining venue called Smiths. Now with a portfolio of food led businesses he continues to look at new and exciting opportunities and his relationship with the iconic craft brewer Thornbridge from Derbyshire’s Peak District continues to flourish and develop. After cooking for twenty years then spending the last ten years building his small restaurant group Richard has now decided to return to the kitchen and stoves full time. Recent openings include the New Brewkitchen restaurant and the refurbishment of Smith & Baker on site of Relish on Sheffield’s Eccleshall Road.

MARTIN STEAD Co-Owner The Thai Restaurant Group

KIM STEAD Co-Owner The Thai Restaurant Group

Martin Stead and Kim Stead have further developed their group of successful Chaophraya restaurants with sites in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Leeds (which has celebrated its 10th anniversary) and now have ambitious plans to expand into London. The recent opening Thaikhun based on The Avenue, offers a menu inspired by the street food stalls of Bangkok and the new site, with its ‘rustic’ feel, has created 50 new jobs in Manchester. NRB TOP FIFTY 2015

MARTIN WOLSTENCROFT Managing Director Arc Inspirations

CHRIS URE Owner Arc Inspirations

Martin Wolstencroft is a serial entrepreneur with some of West Yorkshire’s favourite bars serving food within the Arc group, across Leeds and Harrogate. Martin also heads up the ‘hospitality and catering workstream’ for Lighthouse, a school specialising in supporting young people ages 11 to 19 with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC) or related communication disorder. In July 2013, Arc Inspirations moved further afield to York to open a second Banyan Bar & Kitchen, The Pit opened on Merrion Street in Leeds city centre. In November 2013, following the massive success of The Pit in Leeds city centre, the Hub was rebranded as the second Pit. A new restaurant ‘Manhatta’ opened in 2014 after receiving £3 Million funding from Santander Corporate and Commercial. They were highly commended in the 2014 Publican Awards for Investment and expansion.



CEO Individual Restaurants

Owner The Victorian Chophouse Company

Steven Walker has spent the last 20 years in food manufacturing, food retailing and restaurants. He built the Roberts Food Group into one of the UK’s leading food businesses. The Individual Restaurant Company comprises 32 premium restaurants including The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Piccolino, Bank Restaurant & Bar and Zinc. Through constant innovation, commitment and a keen eye to detail Steven has successfully maintained Individual Restaurant Company as a market leader with recent projects including the addition of the terrace to Manchester’s RBG and expansion plans for Piccolino in the Corn Exchange Manchester and the recently opened Piccolino London.

Roger is owner of Manchester’s Victorian Chop House Company. With a background in advertising, in 2000 Roger decided to stop developing other people’s brands and create his own. The Victorian Chop House Company was born and now includes Sam’s Chop House in Manchester and Leeds and Mr Thomas’s Chop House Manchester, as well as the recently launched Albert Square Chop House, which includes rooms and event spaces.



Director The House of Adventure Group

Owner Trof

Jon Ward joined the House of Adventure Group as a Director in January 2013 and the initial acquisition was Freeminer Brewery situated in the Forest of Dean Gloucestershire, an independent craft brewery for the past 25 years and a 40 barrel plant. Cord Bar which is situated in the Northern Quarter was the next acquisition followed quickly by Simple Bar and Kitchen and Fyg Deli and Wine Bar. The Group has the intention to expand further following the refurbishment of Cord Bar, the opening of the popular Wood Deli next to Simple Bar & Kitchen and the ‘The Tib Street Gardens’, a temporary beer garden in the Northern Quarter next to the Sub Station.

Joel Wilkinson has opened six very individual venues in Manchester including Trof, Deaf Institute and Gorilla. Most recently his ambitious revitalisation of Albert Hall, the gargantuan, former Methodist meeting hall on Peter Street, has turned it into a stunning purpose built music hall, one of the most atmospheric music and events venues in the UK.

Recent accolades include the Award of Excellence from the influential American magazine, Wine Spectator. Most recently Sam’s Chop House was listed in the Good Food Guide 2015.

The Best Northern Operators



Chef Patron Restaurant Fraiche

Owner Red Chilli

Recently named sixth best restaurant in the UK in The Sunday Times Food List, winner of three AA rosettes and the first Michelin star on Merseyside, Fraiche (Marc Wilkinson’s restaurant near Birkenhead) has a footprint far larger than the diminutive16 cover space that it occupies.

Stewart is a Manchester entrepreneur whose portfolio of businesses includes the Chi Yip supermarkets. He also owns the Ocean Treasure Restaurant, Manchester 235 casino, Red Chilli restaurant chain (darling of the food critics) and K2, a three floor karaoke bar in Manchester’s Chinatown. Yip is also the President of ‘The Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester’ (FCAM).

Wilkinson opened Fraiche in 2004 and today – as the only chef in his kitchen – he is as hard-working as any restaurateur alive. Wilkinson’s food has been described as modern French but – as you might expect from a chef who cites Ferran Adrià of El Bulli fusion magician Pierre Gagnaire and flavour scientist Hervé as major influences – he is unafraid to experiment. Wilkinson says that when designing his dishes down to the bread served before the meal, he puts them through taste-test after taste-test, exhausting every possibility for improving each before moving ahead. Restaurant Fraiche is testament to what can be achieved by one man’s relentless and single-minded pursuit of brilliance and Marc is a shining star for the North of England. He has retained his Michelin star since 2009 and is listed in top 20 restaurants in the country by The Good Food Guide and was recently named Best restaurant in Sunday Times.

Recent openings in 2014 include the new Sakana Pan-Asian fine dining restaurant on Peter Street, Manchester, with stunning décor designed by local and Japanese artists.

NRB Top 50 Awards are announced each year at the Northern Restaurant & Bar – the largest hospitality trade exhibition in the North of England. For sponsorship enquiries please call 01457 866 710 or email The entry for nominations for the 2016 awards will open late 2015. Please check the website or follow us for updates. @nrbtop50


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NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2015  

The NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2015. Celebrating the very best Northern hospitality operators.

NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2015  

The NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2015. Celebrating the very best Northern hospitality operators.