Off the back of his recent crowdfunding success, chef restaurateur Gary Usher has exclusively revealed to The Caterer further details about his sixth restaurant and plans for a new boutique hotel.
After months of hype Usher's Kickstarter project, which aimed to raise £50,000 in 24-hours to help launch Pinion in Prescot, smashed its target in just one hour and finished the stint having raised £86,624 pledged by 1,193 backers.
"It's all calmed down now." Usher, who featured in The Caterer's Top 100 Most Powerful People in Hospitality, said.
Without taking a moment to breathe, Usher has now teased a plan for a hotel opening next year. He hopes to launch it in Manchester near to Kala on King's Street, his sixth restaurant scheduled to open its doors this summer.
He said: "At Wreckfish [Usher's fourth restaurant, opened in Liverpool last year] we have a deal with the hotel opposite so anyone who goes there for breakfast and finds it's at maximum occupancy, particularly at the weekend, can come to the restaurant and get a bit of a deal with us. At Kala in Manchester we aren't going to have that, so I thought 'you know what? Let's just open a hotel'."
"There are a couple of sites in Manchester which I think will be perfect for a hotel, so why not? Hopefully next year we will go for it - a boutique hotel with anything between 12 and 16 rooms. Something small and manageable."
Usher also revealed further details about Kala, which translates to black in Urdu. "My grandad was fluent in Urdu so he named his dog Kala because it was black. My mum did the same with our black cat and I just thought it suited because the restaurant is not what we usually go for. Rather than having a rustic feel it's a massive glass-fronted building with polished floors. We will be using marble and lots of black because it'll suit the glass feel the best, so why not call it Kala!" Usher continued.
The restaurant will have 70-covers and serve breakfast lunch and dinner. At the entrance there will be a bar for 15 people which will also serve food. Similarly to Wreckfish a pastry chef will work alongside the bartender. "It'll be a bit more all-singing and all-dancing, somewhere you can properly eat unlike Wreckfish, where you can go in there and chill out or get a cocktail," Usher explained. "It never really worked at Wreckfish like we thought it would, whereas Kala is being set out Barrafina-style with 15 proper seats up at the bar where people can properly eat."
Kala and Pinion will join Sticky Walnut which opened in Hoole, Chester, in 2011. Burnt Truffle followed in July 2015 after securing more than £100,000 through Usher's first Kickstarter campaign. Didsbury-based Hispi followed suit, receiving nearly £60,000 in pledges.
In May 2017 Usher raised more than £200,000 from 1,522 backers for his fourth restaurant, Wreckfish, in Liverpool. It is believed to be the most money ever raised for a restaurant through a crowdfunding campaign in the UK.