Former Barclays bank set to open as vegan-friendly restaurant
- Credit: Archant
A historic building which was once a town's bank will be transformed into a bistro specialising in vegan, vegetarian and raw food.
Since it closed in 2017, the old Barclays bank on Church Plain in Loddon had been left abandoned and in a deteriorated state.
However, Robin and Elena Wetherall have taken to renovating the building, which was remodelled in 1905, into a bistro named The Terrace.
Mr Wetherall, who lives in Loddon, said: "I have just enjoyed working on the project, we have been quite involved everyday."
Since they began renovating in April, the couple has travelled across the county to secure vintage decor for the business, such as cast iron railings from the 1840s and glistening 1930s chandeliers, which were found in Birmingham.
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"We did find them on social media, we were very lucky. There was quite a lot of work involved with the cast-iron railings - we had to blast 150-year-old paint from them," he said.
The couple, who own a number of holiday cottages, said the restaurant has a strong emphasis on good quality and fresh food.
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Mr Wetherall said: "There is going to be a strong element of vegan, raw and vegetarian. We are still doing meat and fish as well.
"We have employed three chefs and two cooks and we will be hiring another chef," he added, "We are concentrated on employing local people."
The former Barclays bank building has been almost completely renovated, with minor alterations to create new a door. The ATM has been removed and a new window has been installed by Mr Wetherall to match the existing windows.
Most of the original interior of the bank has been gutted, however, the original vault door is intact and will be used as the entrance to the kitchen.
"We did try and turn it into a table, but it is just too heavy. It must have been put in place and then the building was built around it," he said.
Mr Wetherall said the cafe will be open for business by the end of this month.