Rothbury restaurant asks for permission to extend its outdoor area

A restaurant which opened in Rothbury during the coronavirus pandemic has applied for permission to expand its outdoor area.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 7:00 am
Northumberland County Council will decide if the restaurant will be able to expand its outdoor area.
Northumberland County Council will decide if the restaurant will be able to expand its outdoor area.

It is almost exactly a year since Bewicks’s Kitchen and Coffee House opened in the town, in the 140-year-old Church House, in Church Street.

And now bosses are hoping to increase their outside seating to make the most of the summer weather, as well as respond to changing customer tastes and public demand.

“It’s not really about expanding, it’s just down to public demand, this is what people want,” said owner Kevin Mulraney, a former Michelin Star chef.

“It’s rare, with the weather, that people actually want to be inside.

“And where would you rather be? Inside, looking at beautiful Rothbury through a window, or outside in it?”

According to an application submitted to Northumberland County Council, the business is not looking to change its existing operating hours.

However, it is seeking permission to operate from a grassed area outside the cafe, next to the Newcastle House pub.

A separate application for a pavement cafe licence is also being considered by the local authority.

While Bewick’s operates from the ground floor of Church House, the rest of the building remains a base for the Northumberland National Park Authority, Forestry England and Northumbria Police.

The new venture’s original opening date last year had to be pushed back by about three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, something Mulraney thinks will have a long-term impact on eating and entertaining habits.

He said: “[This will let us] focus on the cafe culture-feel outside, and full-on dining inside the main restaurant.

“I think the whole culture [of eating out] has changed through the pandemic and I think it’s changed for the better.

“I think gone are the days of someone propping up the bar, having a pint, I think it’s more like a Mediterranean country, where you sit down and then someone comes over to you.

“People want to be outside because it’s safer and this is about reassuring them we’re a safe environment.”

Full details of the application can be found at www.northumberland.gov.uk – any comments on the proposals should be submitted to the county council by Wednesday, July 14.