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Norwich's empty restaurants - and what is happening to them now

PUBLISHED: 10:50 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 02 April 2019

Some of the empty restaurants in Norwich. Photos: Lauren Cope and Denise Bradley

Some of the empty restaurants in Norwich. Photos: Lauren Cope and Denise Bradley

Archant

Norwich has seen several restaurant closures in the last few years - but which former eateries are still shut today? And are there plans afoot?

The former Carluccio's in Norwich city centre, which will become a Mercedes Benz pop-up shop in April. Photo: Lauren CopeThe former Carluccio's in Norwich city centre, which will become a Mercedes Benz pop-up shop in April. Photo: Lauren Cope

• Carluccio’s

The Norwich branch of the Italian chain closed just before Christmas, as part of a wider restructuring of the company. It was one of 30 which were at risk. While a long-term plan for the unit is yet to be announced, signs in the windows say it will be used as a Mercedes Benz pop-up shop opening this month.

Jamie's Italian at the Royal Arcade which is closing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJamie's Italian at the Royal Arcade which is closing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

• Jamie’s Italian

Work on the old Prezzo restaurant on Thorpe Road. Photo: Lauren CopeWork on the old Prezzo restaurant on Thorpe Road. Photo: Lauren Cope

Early this year, the Norwich branch of the restaurant announced it would be closing “with much regret”, after the landowner found a new tenant. The Jamie Oliver Group has said, after closing a handful of restaurants last year, it now hopes to expand again, so there are hopes it could reappear elsewhere in the city.

The former Alley Olé restaurant in Norwich. Photo: Lauren CopeThe former Alley Olé restaurant in Norwich. Photo: Lauren Cope

• Prezzo

Last year, the two-storey Prezzo on Thorpe Road, near the train station, closed as part of a wider restructuring. In October, a premises licence application was lodged, and approved, for a new restaurant in the building. It was submitted by Emre Akis, and will see the ground and first floors of the building used as a restaurant. Scaffolding is now up, and there are signs of work inside.

The river boat at Riverside in Norwich, formerly home to The Vagabond. Photo: Lauren CopeThe river boat at Riverside in Norwich, formerly home to The Vagabond. Photo: Lauren Cope

• Alley Olé

The former Teapot Café and Bar on St Gregory's Alley, which has since closed. Photo: Lauren CopeThe former Teapot Café and Bar on St Gregory's Alley, which has since closed. Photo: Lauren Cope

The Spanish restaurant opened in April 2017, selling tapas dishes and rotisserie-style chicken. But in 2018 owner Samuel Finnie said he planned to sell the business to spend more time with his family. The furniture has since been removed from the Bridewell Alley building, which now stands empty, while someone had written ‘relocating’ on the windows.

The former Presto café, which is set to become a restaurant in summer. Photo: Lauren CopeThe former Presto café, which is set to become a restaurant in summer. Photo: Lauren Cope

Floating restaurant

Italian restaurant Vagabond closed at the floating restaurant, on Riverside, last autumn. Since then, the boat had stood empty and boarded up, with little sign of what comes next. It has led to some calls from people living in Norwich for more to be done - to either find a new use for the historic boat, or give it a fresh lick of paint.

The former Les Garrigues shop, which has relocated to Louis Deli. Photo: Lauren CopeThe former Les Garrigues shop, which has relocated to Louis Deli. Photo: Lauren Cope

• The Teapot

East Twenty Six bar and restaurant, Exchange Street, Norwich. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYEast Twenty Six bar and restaurant, Exchange Street, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The former Teapot, on St Gregory’s Alley, has been closed for some time, having previously served “tea by day, Thai by night”, according to its windows. There is now graffiti scrawled on the window, and a site safety sign on the door, suggesting there is ongoing building work at the site. In 2016, an application was removed to replace its windows and front door.

The former Noodle Express on White Lion Street. Photo: Lauren CopeThe former Noodle Express on White Lion Street. Photo: Lauren Cope

Veeno

Despite insisting it would reopen soon, the Veeno wine café, part of Castle Mall’s Timberhill Terrace restaurant zone, announced it would be closing for good in March this year. At the end of January, it had posted signs in its window saying it was closed “temporarily”. We approached Castle Mall for more.

• Presto

While Italian café Presto closed in March, the building will soon be back in use. The unit, on Orford Street, is due to be filled by a new restaurant run by Oliver Boon, a former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist from 2012. The restaurant will serve “simple, rustic Italian food with a focus on quality ingredients”.

Les Garrigues

Wine bar and French food spot Les Garrigues relocated last September, instead joining forces with Louis Deli and relocating to share its base on Upper St Giles Street. At the time, owner Damien Cabanis said it was triggered by the break clause of his lease coming to an end.

• East Twenty Six

On Exchange Street, East Twenty Six has become the latest restaurant in Norwich to close. But the building will soon no longer be a restaurant at all, with approved plans from owner Jeremy King to turn it into a home.

• Noodle Express

A sign above Noodle Express, on White Lion Street, says it is currently under offer. Guy Gowing, managing partner at Arnolds Keys, confirmed a retail business already trading in Norwich would be relocating to the business, but could not yet reveal which one.

• Do you know what is happening with these restaurants? Or are there any we have missed? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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