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15 | 05 | 2009

Evening Times feature

"Restaurant No 16 gets a 2nd chance" written by Graeme Murray

An award-winning Glasgow restaurant is to reopen three months after it suddenly closed its doors. Joel Pomfret and Gerry Mulholland, who previously worked for the fine dining eaterie, are to take over the lease of No 16 in Byres Road. The restaurant shut with no explanation at the end of February.

The new business partners, who once held front of house and sous chef roles there, plan to re-open on Tuesday once staff have been recruited and the paperwork completed. They will offer a similar menu which will target lunchtime trade at the foot of the Byres Road. In the evening, they will offer an a la carte menu and are arranging for a special graduation menu. The due are in the process of putting together a six-strong team – some of whom were employed there before it closed.

Mr Pomfret, who was assistant manager at No 16 in 2006, said:

“At present we are in the process of purchasing the lease and it’s looking like we will be open some time next week. There will be virtually no changes to the restaurant aside from a slightly revised menu but essentially diners will have the same experience as prior to its closure. It’s going to be a very similar style to how it was before, but slightly cheaper. We’re even getting the head chef who was there for six years and the former manageress coming back to work with us. We will be targeting hospital staff and university staff and want to build up the lunchtime trade

When the former No 16 closed suddenly, tables were still set for dinner in the restaurant’s wondow. It was latterly run by husband-and-wife team Margaret and Ronnie Campbell and once held a Michelin Bib Gourmand award, given to moderately priced restaurants. The Pollokshields coupe also ran Louis’ Grill in Gibson Street, Hillhead, which has since closed. The new owners, who are both from the Isle of Arran, financed the business from savings and family loans. They have now formed a separate company called No 16 West End and will shortly take over the running of the two-floor premises. Mr Pomfret is confident the venture will survive the recession. He added:

“We have never operated a business before but have worked a combined total of around 25 years in the industry, not only in Glasgow but also Hong Kong, United States, the Virgin Islands, Tokyo, New Zealand, Australia and Greece. “We are not really worried about opening during a recession. The phone’s been ringing every day even though the restaurant’s been shut for more than two months.”