Reopening a 'huge relief' for owners of popular Chesterfield restaurant as customers return
Owners of a popular Chesterfield restaurant have spoke of their ‘relief’ after a busy reopening day where they welcomed back customers inside for the first time in months.
While restaurants, pubs and cafes were given the official green-light from the Government to allow the public to dine indoors on Monday, May 17 – Bottle & Thyme in Knifesmithgate opened back up yesterday (May 19).
The family run, independent restaurant which specialises in organic, seasonal food debuted a new evening menu, complete with burgers, sharing boards and small plates as they let customers back into the restaurant.
Despite having an outdoor seating area, Bottle & Thyme held off reopening to the public on April 12 and instead opted for more time to put the finishing touches to their new food offering.
One of the most popular additions to the menu has been their lobster mac and cheese which owner, Hannah Grainger said ‘flew out’ of the kitchen last night.
The restaurant also serves brunch, coffee and cocktails and plans to bring back its regular live music in the evening when restrictions allow.
Hannah and Gavin set up Bottle & Thyme together back in 2016 and sold takeaway sharing and recipe boxes of their most well-loved food when they were forced to close during the pandemic.
The business owner explained how it felt to see customers return and dine inside for the first time in months yesterday.
Hannah said: "People were glad to be back, you always have those butterflies before hand when you've been closed for so long but as soon as the doors were open it felt like we'd never been shut.
"In the job that we do it is such a social job and we missed seeing people so much.
"Obviously we go into the building regularly and having it empty and quiet, it just doesn't feel right at all so it was so nice to get that buzz back and atmosphere, see lots of faces.
"It is just everything that you do this job for so it is a huge relief to be back open.”
The husband and wife duo took on two new staff members, after other workers left to join different industries and the rest of their employees are now back off furlough.
Despite concerns over the new Indian Covid variant, the restaurant owner, who gave birth to her son in May last year, shared she feels positive about the future for hospitality.
"You have to feel optimistic really, it's been a really scary time for everybody in this industry and for other industries as well”, Hannah added.
"We had so much support through this year from customers, whether it be ordering takeaway from us or just dropping us messages of support saying 'when you're back open, we'll be straight back in'.
"Yesterday, opening the doors and having a busy restaurant all day does really reassure you.
"Like everybody, in terms of what's next you just hope things continue to improve and there is no more further restrictions really so everybody can get back on their feet again and get back to what they do.
"This year has been tricky for everybody in this trade, when you're running your own business so we are just very appreciative and lucky that we've come out the other side.”