Leicester boasts a great selection of food and drink venues, from well-known chain restaurants to quirky independent cafes.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic meant all of these places had to close at the end of March, and remain closed for more than four months.
While many have now reopened since the easing of Leicester lockdown restrictions on August 3, a number of places have confirmed that they will not be reopening.
Here are the Leicester restaurants, cafes and bars that have now permanently closed…
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Bistrot Pierre, Millstone Lane
The Leicester branch of the French restaurant chain Bistrot Pierre has permanently closed, it was revealed last month.
The chain, which began in Nottingham 26 years ago, was bought in a pre-pack administration – but six sites across the UK have closed for good.
This includes the Leicester site, in Millstone Lane, which opened in November 2003 and underwent a huge refurbishment in 2017.
Steve Absolom, joint administrator and partner at KPMG, said: “Covid-19 and the prolonged lockdown period has presented large swathes of the casual dining sector with significant funding challenges, and Bistrot Pierre has been far from immune.
“Despite exploring all alternative options, including relief schemes like the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, the directors took the difficult decision to file for the appointment of administrators.”
The Leicester branch is one of 41 UK restaurants that will not open again after the chain fell into administration.
It has now been emptied of its tables and chairs, with just the umbrellas remaining outside.
The Italian restaurant and deli chain announced in March it had entered administration, putting 2,000 jobs at risk.
The directors said they made the decision to place the company into administration “after a sustained period of challenging trading conditions, which have been exacerbated by Covid-19 and the broader issues currently facing the UK’s retail and hospitality sector”.
In May, it was revealed Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) had bought the chain – which was founded in 1991 by the late Antonio Carluccio and his then wife Priscilla.
The rescue deal secured the future of 30 UK branches of Carluccio’s, and saved more than 800 jobs.
However, the remaining 41 restaurants – including Leicester – were not reopened after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Coast to Coast, Highcross
This American restaurant and bar has shut permanently, its owners confirmed to LeicestershireLive.
The Coast to Coast chain of restaurants is one of a number of brands owned by The Restaurant Group.
The group also owns Wagamama, Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito.
Talking about the closure of the Leicester Coast to Coast restaurant, a company spokesperson said: “The casual dining sector has faced enormous, well documented pressures which have been exacerbated by Covid-19 and the lockdown.
“Unfortunately, we have had to take difficult but necessary decisions to ensure a sustainable future for our business.
“We have been in close contact with affected colleagues throughout this process and we are doing all we can to support them during this time.”
The Restaurant Group announced in June it was planning to close around 125 sites across the country – and said those would be “principally” Frankie and Benny’s restaurants.
This move was confirmed in July, after landlords approved the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Café Rouge, Highcross
The Leicester branch of French restaurant chain Café Rouge is now permanently closed.
It is one of 91 UK restaurants, out of a total of 250 owned by the Casual Dining Group, which have shut for good.
The Casual Dining Group – which also owns Las Iguanas and Bella Italia – entered administration at the end of June, saying that given the “extreme operating environment” it was in the best interests of all stakeholders to enter administration to allow the company to conclude negotiations with landlords over its estate.
Given all offers received for the business envisaged a reduced restaurant estate, the administrators said they had taken the “extremely difficult decision” to permanently close 91 restaurants with immediate effect.
Pret a Manger, Gallowtree Gate
Pret a Manger announced 30 store closures in July, after sales plummeted.
Unfortunately, the Gallowtree Gate site was one of them.
Pret said it had decided to close some stores permanently after recent sales dived by 74 per cent compared with the same period last year.
The Pantry, Loseby Lane
This Leicester city centre deli and coffee shop has closed for good due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pantry opened in March 2018, serving a range of homemade vegan food as well as Peruvian coffee.
Due to the coronavirus lockdown, The Pantry closed its doors in March, and owner Arti Chudasama announced in July that will not be reopening, saying: “This deeply saddens me to say – unfortunately The Pantry will not be reopening its doors due to Covid-19.
However, she added: “This doesn’t mean it’s the end forever for The Pantry, it only means I’m working on another way to serve all you lovely, loyal, smiling customers my homemade vegan food.
The Legendary Lab, St Nicholas Circle
This cocktail bar has closed for good due to the effect of coronavirus, the owners have confirmed.
The Legendary Lab opened at the end of October 2019 in the former home of The Fish and The Chip and before that Maiyango, in St Nicholas Place.
The bar gave customers the opportunity to enjoy an array of smoking, bubbling, colour changing drinks.
However, it is now permanently closed. Owners Ulrich Katusevanako and Amie Cull said: “We have absolutely loved our time here but unfortunately the global pandemic has been a very tough time and for that reason The Legendary Lab will not be reopening.”
Newman’s, Market Street
Independent restaurant Newman’s has closed permanently after 34 years, due to the effect of coronavirus.
Owner Dean Newman, who started the restaurant with wife Christine, said the pandemic was “a bridge too far” for the restaurant, which had already been hit hard over the years by changes in the area.
They included the removal of free on-street parking, the closure of the Fenwick department store opposite the restaurant and the opening of Highcross, formerly The Shires, on the other side of the city, all of which meant there were fewer people in the area around Newman’s.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, and it became clear businesses would need to adapt to survive, Dean realised, he said, that it would not be possible to make the necessary changes at the restaurant and still have a profitable business.
Reflecting on the business, and his decision to close, Dean said: “We built a gem, had fun and closed.
“We paid all the suppliers, and left with dignity and pride. I think to have done that is not bad.”