Restaurant Owner Wants More Flexibility On Rents

A St Mary’s restaurateur says property owners need to be more flexible with rents in these difficult financial times.

Chris Evans, owner of the Blues restaurant in Hugh Town, held a New Year’s Eve dinner on Saturday night, with a seven-course menu served to a packed house.

But this will be Chris’ last New Year’s Eve service. He’ll be closing the doors for good in March.

Chris, who has been in the restaurant business for 31 years, says he’s taking the chance to think about his next move and spend some time with his family.

There are several people interested in taking on the business, but Chris says the owner of the property, in a prime location on Hugh St, has been reluctant to negotiate on the rent, and Chris thinks this is crazy in such difficult times economically.

He said the market for good quality food in Scilly is still good, particularly in the evenings, but the lunchtime market has become less profitable and, in combination with the apparent shortening of the season, means it has been difficult to maintain a sustainable business.

This year will see a number of food businesses closing or changing hands. Along with the closure of Blues, the Boatshed will have a new owner and new management will be in place at the Atlantic Hotel.

However, rumours that the popular Galley fish restaurant is to close have been dismissed by the owner.

Peter Thompson told us that, although things will be tough this year, he has no intention of closing the business.

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