Chesterfield pubs, cafes and restaurants celebrate serving customers indoors from today
Pubs, cafes and restaurants across Chesterfield are welcoming customers back indoors today as lockdown restrictions ease.
Over a month after hospitality businesses were first allowed to reopen their doors to the public outside, businesses are now letting people inside premises again today.
Koo, a popular bistro and cafe on Chatsworth Road, was one of the thousands of businesses that reopened on April 12 but with only eight outdoor tables, the brunch spot is keen to welcome people back inside.
Owner Sian Spencer-Bray said: "We are really excited about opening indoors, there is quite a lot of uncertainty when it comes to seating outside especially with the weather as people are cancelling when the weather isn't great and we're getting a lot of walk ins and we are not able to give them tables as people have booked them already.
"It's something we're quite looking forward to."
The team at Koo have reduced the number of tables inside to increase social distancing and stationed hand-sanitiser at both the bar, in bathrooms and on tables.
Customers who are encouraged to book in advance, will also have table service, in line with Government Covid guidelines, meaning they won’t need to leave their seat to order.
Sian added: "Our staff are fantastic at making people feel comfortable and we do ask people if there's anything we can do to make their stay more comfortable with us, if they'd prefer us to not take the cups off the tray, if they want to help themselves, if they don't want to stand up or go to the toilet or anything."
The business owner said things are ‘definitely heading in the right direction’ and now feels optimistic about returning to some form of normality.
She added: "I can only see it getting better to be honest and I think people are ready for it, they are ready to get out, they are ready to socialise again and eating out and drinking out as well.”
The Pekoe Café at Northern Tea Merchants, also on Chatsworth Road, is gearing up to welcome the public back.
Owner Tracey Wallis shared how challenging the last year has been, but hopes the town’s hospitality industry will ‘bounce back’ as coronavirus rules relax again from the start of next week.
She said: "We are really looking forward to being back, it's been such a long time and we've missed our wonderful customers.
"We're already taking plenty of bookings, so it shows that people have missed us too!
"The last 14 months have been a struggle to say the least, but I am positive that Chesterfield's independent businesses and the hospitality sector will bounce back with a vengeance.
“Roll on 17 May when we can begin serving our much-loved range of Northern Tea Merchants' teas and coffees again, alongside freshly prepared breakfast favourites, light lunches and a delicious selection of homemade cakes and scones."
Cocina Restaurant at Casa Hotel has been refurbished during lockdown, adding new booths and decor along with a new-look bar to mark their inside reopening on May 17.
Chairman of Global Brands and Owner of Casa Hotel Steve Perez added: "Every time we have been closed, we've been determined to come back bigger and better and now is no different.
"Although we have been closed, we have been very busy.
"We have built the new Oak Room extension to our wedding venue, extended the terrace and built a brand-new kitchen at Peak Edge Hotel.
“At Casa, we are refurbishing the Cocina Restaurant with luxurious new booths and décor.
"The bar will be extensively refurbished with an amazing new design and concept - it will be the place to be in the town.
“The love everyone has shown us throughout the last year has been keeping us going.
"We have in fact remained open throughout the entire pandemic by supporting the NHS with free accommodation and food and, more recently, the vaccine centre here at Casa.
"Let us hope this is us opening for good and for an amazing summer ahead.”
One pub delighted to be finally fully reopening is The Market, on New Beetwell Street.
Douglas Daniels, owner, said: “We’re greatly looking forward to getting back, as are the whole team.
“We’ve really missed all of our customers and can’t wait to welcome them back.”
Brendan Gallagher, manager of The Spread Eagle, on Beetwell Street, Chesterfield town centre, said it was a relief to finally be able to reopen.
“We’ve started to get a few bookings already,” he said.
"It’s been quite hard, but we’re quite lucky in that our owners actually own the building, so we’ve not had to find any rent.
“But we can’t wait to reopen and start to try to recuperate some of the losses.”
Another pub reopening on Monday is JD Wetherspoon’s The Spa Lane Vaults, on St Mary’s Gate.
Eddie Gerson, Wetherspoon spokesman, said: “The pub has been closed for a long time and it will be great to see the pub busy once again.”
The Kelstedge, on Matlock Road, Kelstedge, underwent a revamp during lockdown ahead of reopening its beer garden on April 12.
Now staff cannot wait to show off the new-look interior.
Helen Marshall, manager, said: “It’s a massive relief to be able to fully reopen – we can’t wait for it and neither can our customers.”
She said the beer garden opening had been “great”, even if recent bad weather had affected custom.
“People have been very enthusiastic and we’ve had a lot of support. We’ve just been getting busier and busier. The bad weather we have seen has slowed it down a bit, but we’ve still had people sat outside, under umbrellas, eating.
“But we can’t wait to reopen fully.”
She said customers can expect socially distanced tables, plenty of hand sanitising stations and table service when they return, with groups limited to six people or two households.