Regent Street in Cheltenham is known for its eclectic collection of independent eateries and cultural presence. It’s the fabulous selection of food and drink venues to choose from that makes the street so special. Cheltenham BID spoke to the owners and staff of the businesses and asked them how they got on during and post-lockdown.
Cheltenham’s well known Theatre; The Everyman is of course located in the centre of Regent Street and we spoke to David Allen, Head of Sales and Marketing about the changes of the business.
The Everyman Theatre café and bars have now become the face of the theatre. David said: “It’s great to see to so many people taking advantage of the increased seating capacity outside the various cafes on the street. When we’re able to return to welcoming audiences we hope Regent Street will return to being a central hub for the town.”
The Everyman Theatre is pleased to announce its first local pilot of an indoor, socially distanced, public performance this Friday and Saturday (11th and 12th September) and the café are also offering suppers on Wednesday’s and Friday’s during September.
If you fancy authentic Spanish tapas food, in a relaxed, fun environment then Bar Padrón is situated to the left of Theatre.
Matthew Wood, owner of Bar Padrón did a lot of what all independent businesses had to do during and post-lockdown, and that is read a lot of guidelines, and try and make sure that his staff and customers were safe.
independent businesses came together during lockdown to support each other reopening.
Matthew said: “It’s been hard work, it’s been stressful, it’s been expensive, but ultimately it’s all worth it, because what we all want is a place that makes people smile again. I think I can speak for all of us when I say, without each other, this would have been near on impossible to achieve. So, I’m very proud of us as a group.”
Further down Regent Street you will find Domaine 16, the restaurant that offers all dishes around cheese and amazing wines.
Stephanie Ronssin, owner of Domaine 16 said: “Cheltenham is a such a great town! Luckily, our town is filled with great independent businesses all with the same amount of willing to do well and succeed. The common difficulties we face make us closer as business owners.”
Onto the award-winning KIBOUsushi. They had been operating as a basement restaurant for the last seven years, serving Japanese food to scores of happy customers. The impact of COVID-19 had a dramatic influence on their business, which obviously began with the closure of all dining out restaurants from the start of lockdown.
The new restaurant opened just down the road from the original KIBOUsushi site on Regent Street on the 6th September. Still the same KIBOU that Cheltenham knows and loves.
A spokesperson from KIBOU sushi said: “We’ve been bowled over by the support and well-wishes for both our loyal customers and the wider community of Cheltenham. I think this pandemic has really helped cement a combined willingness to succeed during these unprecedented times.”
Regent Street also houses the beautiful Regency tea rooms, found just after Ormond Place. The Regency tea rooms is a traditional tearoom in the heart of Cheltenham.
Charlotte Hout, owner of Regency tea rooms spoke to us openly about her experience of lockdown: “We can say it hasn’t been easy and like our neighbours we have suffered financially but we have somehow managed since reopening.”
The Find is an English coffee house dedicated to exceptional food and drink and is also located directly on Regent Street nested in between Earls & Co and 21 Club.
David Orme, Owner of The Find said: “Although the current situation has undoubtedly been challenging, it has also been an opportunity to redefine and differentiate our business. To connect with customers, understand their needs and concerns, and to provide them with what they really want. Everyone has had more time to talk, and listen, and think – both customers and businesses, and we have all been able to get a better understanding of what is really important, and what isn’t that important.”
The Find has been very impressed by, and grateful for, the support provided by Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham BID. The application process and payment of Government grants was really easy and speedy. The licensing team have been incredibly supportive with our proposals for additional outside seating. Cheltenham BID played an active and driving role in the scheme to close off part of Regent St for additional seating. They also organise virtual networking meetings throughout the lockdown to both keep local businesses up to date with important developments and facilitate information sharing. So, all in all, they feel that their business has definitely benefited from a culture of partnership and shared objectives with Cheltenham Council and BID over this period.
Fancy tasting top-quality treats all the way from Venice or Barcelona? Then Cicheti is the place for you. Located at the top of Regent Street, Cicheti is one of the first restaurants you see heading in from The High Street.
Andrew and wife Marie-Eve, both CEO of Cicheti said: “The “welcome back” support from local Cheltenham customers has been truly amazing – thank you to everyone who has come to visit us or even just popped in to wish us well.
The local council has also been really helpful in dealing with our renewed application for a terrace and more responsive than before on many other aspects of council business, so we do feel that we are being supported to get back to business.”
You can also find WOODKRAFT another award-winning artisan eatery from MasterChef Champion, Simon Wood. Woodkraft fits very well with the Regent Street community, offering good quality food and drink, which is accessible all day. Their restaurant is spacious and airy with a very relaxed feel, as well being a family owned and operated business, using local produce and employing local people.
James Kocerhan, Manager of WoodKraft mentioned that the introduction of an additional walkway on the highway on Regent Street gave them the opportunity to provide a small number of tables and chairs for diners outside. The initiative has encouraged people out though the summer weather has helped too.
He said: “During lockdown we offered a home delivery service for meal boxes and kits. This was popular and we covered the whole of Gloucestershire, delivering to households various ‘finish at home’ meal kits and cakes and drinks from our normal range. This enabled us to bring some staff back from furlough and keep our Woodkraft name in people’s minds.”