Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is to open a restaurant and delicatessen in Bristol.
The TV presenter turned businessman is to open the third branch of his award winning River Cottage chain on Whiteladies Road in Clifton.
Property and retail firm Insight Retail Consulting has been working on behalf of the chef and food writer and has bought the former church of St John the Evangelist, last occupied by Britannia Building Society. – close to Blackboy Hill.
The River Cottage team is planning to open its fourth branch in Winchester next summer once the restaurant in Bristol is up and running.
The new River Cottage Canteen and Deli is expected to open early in the new year and the plans for the restaurant have already been drawn up.
The building, known as St John’s Court, was last occupied by Britannia Building Society and before that, was the former church of St. John the Evangelist.
Insight was also involved in agreeing the deal for the new River Cottage in Winchester, at the 5,500 square foot, three-floor Abbey Mill in the city centre, which was last used as council offices.
The two openings will take the number of River Cottage Canteen and Delis to four. The company also has a restaurant at its headquarters at Axminster and an outlet in The Brewhouse, at Plymouth’s showpiece Royal William Yard development, last year.
George Waite, a director at Insight Retail Consulting, said: “We anticipate that building work to convert the Bristol site will take several weeks, ready for an opening early next year.
"River Cottage’s reputation for locally sourced and sustainable food is second to none and these two openings will reinforce the food renaissance which is currently under way in Bristol and Winchester.
“I am confident that both canteens will be welcome additions to each city’s food scene for both customers and local producers alike.”
Jamie Oliver opened a similar venture in Park Street just over 18 months ago to a great fanfare and a huge interest. The Italian restaurant is now one of the most popular eating spots in the Bristol and has been a huge success.
The TV presenter, chef and writer is a passionate advocate of home-grown and ethically sourced food and his restaurant is considered one of the best in the South West.
Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall made his name through his Channel 4 TV series which featured living on a small-holding in Devon.
After writing several books he opened a Canteen and Deli in Axminster, a local produce shop and informal restaurant in November 2011.
The idea is that customers are offered two or three choices rather than a full menu with the emphasis on rustic and healthy food.
The River Station organisation are expected to make a formal announcement on the opening next week.