CELEBRITY chef and food campaigner Jamie Oliver is opening a restaurant in Newcastle.
Jamie’s Italian is set to open as part of the £15m revamp of Monument Mall in the city centre. It will be the first of the chef’s chain of eateries to come to the North East.
Oliver, made famous by his cookery shows and his campaign to improve Britain’s eating habits, has opened a string of Jamie’s Italian restaurants across the UK.
His website describes the chain as “accessible and affordable,” offering “rustic, simple dishes” inspired by the food of Italy.
The new restaurant is understood to be filling the ground floor unit formerly occupied by Boots the Chemist and is expected to offer Italian classics such as tagliatelle bolognese, seaside risotto, and garlic and rosemary chicken as well as hearty meals such as Jamie’ Italian Burger.
Jamie’s team are yet to officially announce the new venture – which will be the first Jamie Oliver restaurant in the North East – and it is not yet clear if the chef himself will come to the region to cut the ribbon.
But an application has been submitted to Newcastle City Council for a licence to open between 8am and 12.30am, seven days a week.
The star, who also runs Fifteen restaurant in London which gives jobs to unemployed young people, last month launched his Ministry of Food project at the Alnwick Garden in Northumberland.
The project, running with the help of the Duchess of Northumberland, is a community-focused initiative that sees basic cooking skills taught to non-cooks. It rose out of his 2008 four-part series, Jamie’s Ministry of Food.
Building work is still under way at Monument Mall, on the corner of Blackett Street and Northumberland Street, which was bought up last year by property group Hammerson for £28m.
As well as Jamie’s Italian, the revamped mall, due to open in summer next year, will also house an array of new shops, with bosses aiming to restore all its floors to retail use.
Part of the plans includes turning space which was left void – including wide walkways and stairwells – into usable shop space to maximise the mall’s potential.
Already confirmed for the mall is an extended TK Maxx store, with developers saying many other big names have also signed leases.
But last month council planners turned down an application by Barclays to open an 8,000sqft flagship branch in the vacant former Wallis/Evans unit. The £3m plan would have created 50 jobs, but planning chiefs said the new development should focus on shops.
Jamie’s Italian has branches in York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds as well as many more in London and across the country.