A successful pub duo has taken a big leap into the restaurant industry with the opening of a new Tees eatery which has created 15 new jobs.
Simon Hatfield and Dave Dickson, who own The Townhouse pub in Middlesbrough, have opened Finkle & Green in Stockton after a nine-month project costing more than £100,000.
The pair agreed to take on the former Mohujo’s Mexican restaurant in August last year before refurbishing it throughout.
Situated on Finkle Street and next to Green Dragon Yard, hence its name, Finkle & Green is situated within Stockton’s Cultural Quarter, already home to many popular micro pubs and cocktail bars.
And Simon – who also owns Concept Leisure, the firm behind the two Nuthatch cocktail bars in Middlesbrough and Stockton – is confident they have spotted an opportunity in the town’s up-and-coming night scene.
“We’re really excited about the things happening in Stockton,” said Simon.
“We both come from a late night background, having worked in the pub and club industry for a number of years, and we really like the idea of bars or food.
“I opened the Nuthatch in Stockton and we realised there’s not a lot of food offering this side of the high street, other than Vadah on the riverside.
“Talking to local people and taxi drivers, they’d tell you Stockton is an up-and-coming place with lots of venues to go for a drink, but not enough places to eat.”
Another major factor in the case for a new Stockton restaurant, Simon added, was the restoration of the nearby Globe theatre.
A £15m project to restore the Grade II listed Art Deco Globe is already under way and, once completed in 2019, the live entertainment venue will create 250 jobs and attract artists and performers who will bring more than 200,000 visitors to Stockton town centre every year – boosting the local economy be an estimated £18m a year.
“The Globe will obviously be a major plus for everyone in Stockton,” said Simon.
“But even without the Globe development we identified a strong demand for this type of restaurant and we’re really confident it’ll work.”
Finkle & Green has already employed five full-time chefs, including head chef Ian Bailey, formerly of the Lotus Lounge and Muse restaurants in Yarm, as well as five full-time front-of-house staff and five part-time employees.
But both Simon and Dave will remain full-time while Finkle & Green establishes itself.
“Our expertise is front of house, but we’re delighted with the staff we’ve brought in,” he added.
“We’ve been nervous but the team have been tremendous, they’re gelling really well already, and the opening has gone brilliantly.
“We’re invested in this long-term and we’ll be very much hands-on for the foreseeable future.”
Stockton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and housing, Councillor Nigel Cooke, said: “We are delighted that such an experienced operator and high end cocktail bar proprietor is establishing a quality bar-restaurant in Stockton.
“The new venue will complement the changing nature of nightlife in the town perfectly and is in the ideal location to benefit from the investment in the Hampton by Hilton hotel, the restoration of the Globe and the popular year round events programme.”
Finkle & Green, which boasts scenic views of the River Tees from its elevated perch next to Stockton’s A1305 Riverside road, is now open 11.30am-11pm Mondays-Saturdays.
Its modern British menu has “a couple of European twists”, from bangers & mash and fish & chips to smoked haddock and cheese bake, king prawn taco, lamb kebabs and sea bass fillets.
To view the menu and book a table, go to finkleandgreen.co.uk