US fast casual brand Slim Chickens has opened its first franchised UK restaurant outside London—at the St David’s centre in Cardiff. The 2,400 square feet, 76-cover unit is next to Ed’s Easy Diner at the development, and has digital kiosks and a self-serve drinks station. Slim Chickens first moved into the UK with an opening on St James Street in London. Tom Crowley, CEO of Slim Chickens’ parent company BRG, said: “With incredible footfall and exposure to our target customer catchment, St David’s really stood out to launch our first site outside of London and as a launch pad for our regional expansion plans.”

Mexican brand Chipotle opened its seventh UK restaurant—and its first in more than three years—on King William Street near Monument in the City on Monday (7 January). Its other six sites are all in central London—on St Martin’s Lane, Charing Cross Road, Wardour Street, Baker Street, London Wall and Upper Street.

Loungers says it will open seven new sites before the end of April—including Clio Lounge in Bangor and Navarro Lounge in Manchester before the end of January. New Cosy Club sites are due to follow in Norwich and Portsmouth in February and March respectively. Across 2019, Loungers expects to open around 25 new sites.

Whitbread is to launch its Bar + Block steakhouse concept on the Broadway in Wimbledon in early February. It follows the recent roll-out of the brand in Bath, Birmingham, King’s Cross, Leamington Spa, Aldgate, Nottingham and Whiteley.

English winery Chapel Down launched its new bar on Goods Way in King’s Cross just before Christmas. Chapel Down Gin Works will also incorporate a distillery and restaurant in due course, plus tastings and masterclasses.

Frankie & Benny’s is to open at Bristol Airport—a seventh airport location for the brand. It follows openings at the airport for brands including Barburrito and EAT recently.

All you can eat buffet concept Cosmo has submitted an application to open a restaurant on Market Street in Northampton. The 42,000 square feet operation will be on the site of an old nightclub in the town.

The team behind El Gato Negro in Manchester have submitted proposals for a Middle Eastern restaurant on Brown Street in the city. It plans to open on a site previously occupied by Panama Hatty’s within the Reform Club building in the summer. El Gato Negro launched in Ripponden in Yorkshire before relocating to Manchester, and its team have since launched a Portuguese style restaurant called Canto in the Ancoats area.

Pizza concept @Pizza will open at the Grand Central development in Birmingham in early February, according to local media. It will be located in a unit between Nando’s and Holy Moly Macaroni. It will be a second site for @Pizza, which currently operates in Edinburgh.

A new Mexican restaurant and bar called Masa + Mezcal is due to launch in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol in the spring. The concept has been developed by the team behind Bristol’s Bravas, Bakers & Co, Cargo Cantina and Gambas venues.

Fast casual sushi concept Sushi Daily opened on New Oxford Street this week. The brand already operates sushi kiosks in branches of Waitrose and John Lewis, as well as around Europe, but this is a first standalone UK site. It will have grab and go and click and collect services.

Healthy eating concept Friska opened at the University Green development in Manchester on Thursday (10 January). Friska has two other sites in Manchester, plus eight in Bristol and one at Luton Airport.

Filipino specialist BBQ Dreamz, the concept backed by Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh on the Million Pound Menu TV show, is running a pop-up at MEATLiquor in Kings Cross for four Sundays from this Sunday (13 January). It hopes to open a bricks and mortar restaurant around the middle of the year.

Tortilla has secured permission to open a restaurant on Cornmarket Street in Oxford. It will have around 90 covers over two floors.

Food writer Gizzi Erskine and nutritionist Rose Ferguson are running a pop-up plant-based burger venture called F!lth at the Dirty Burger restaurant on Bethnal Green Road in Shoreditch. The three-month residency follows stints at Tate Modern and Street Feast. As well as burgers, F!lth will offer plant-based shakes.

Emilia’s, an Italian restaurant at St Katharine’s Docks, is to open a second site on Alie Street in Aldgate in early February. It will have 55 covers, an open kitchen and a counter where customers can watch pasta being made. The original Emilia’s opened in St Katharine’s Docks in late 2016.

Cambridge’s vegan restaurant Stem + Glory soft launches its first London site at the Bart’s Square development on Bartholomew Close in the City on Monday (14 January).SSP is opening a branch of Burger King airside at Edinburgh Airport later this year. It follows openings of brands including Pret, BrewDog and Barburrito there.

     

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