Nine new entries to NRB Top Fifty list revealed

20 March 2018 by
Nine new entries to NRB Top Fifty list revealed

The Northern Restaurant & Bar (NRB) Top Fifty has named nine new entries among its power list of the most influential restaurant and bar businesses in the north of England for 2018.

Unveiled this afternoon at the Northern Restaurant & Bar hospitality show in Manchester Central, the awards honoured a list of new and established names.

Among the new entries were the founders and directors of Indian street food and craft beer brand Bundobust, Wildsmith Hotels (which runs Hipping Hall, the Ryebeck and Forest Side in the Lake District), Crafted Projects (operator of bars and restaurants in Newcastle and London), and street food brand Mowgli (which has two restaurants in Liverpool and one in Manchester).

Also among the new entries were Amber Taverns (which has 120 wet-led pubs across the north of England and the Midlands), James' Places, casual dining group East Coast Concepts (which runs Neighbourhood in Manchester's Spinningfields and Victor's in Hale, Cheshire), and the Rose Four Group.

A panel of northern hospitality experts in the fields of hospitality finance, accountancy, property, law and consultancy helped to judge who should make the final list.

The panel also chose the recipients of three special awards, which were presented to Jobe Ferguson, Ross Mackenzie, and Lyndon Higginson from Black Dog and Liars Club; Simon Potts of the Alchemist (pictured above, centre); and Chris Ure and Martin Wolstencroft from Arc Inspirations.

Ferguson, Mackenzie, and Higginson have a complex and growing portfolio which includes Crazy Pedro's, which offers pizza and mezcal from two sites in Manchester and Liverpool, as well as the late night Manchester venue the Liars Club, and a group of nightclubs under the Black Dog brand.

The NRB praised their "unique impact" on the region's food and drink landscape.

Meanwhile Potts, who is managing director of the Alchemist, was praised for a "pioneering approach" for everything from marketing to CSR "which has the others playing catch-up".

And Ure and Wolstencroft were honoured for growing Arc Inspirations, a 15-strong group of bars and restaurants operating under brands including Banyan and the Pit, "without the need for significant outside funding".

Thom Hetherington, chief executive of NRB organiser Holden Media, said: "Despite tremors in the casual dining market, our NRB Top 50 entrants have shown no shortage of ambition.

"Almost every one of the 50 has grand plans for expansion and new sites, and I am sure that 2018/19 will see a ‘rise of the indies' which will play to the strengths of our great northern operators."

Tony Lyons, Jobe Ferguson, Anni Opong, Simon Potts, Lyndon Higginson and Thom Hetherington
Tony Lyons, Jobe Ferguson, Anni Opong, Simon Potts, Lyndon Higginson and Thom Hetherington

e full list of the Top 50 in 2018, organised by company, in alphabetical order, is:

Sax Arshad, director, Zanna Group
Haz Arshad, director, Zanna Group

Adele, Ashley, owner / head chef, Filmore & Union

Paul Askew, chef-patron, The Art School

Rob Bacon, executive chef director, Hickory's Smokehouse
Jason Bligh, director, Hickory's Smokehouse
Neil McDonnell, managing director, Hickory's Smokehouse
John Welsh, operations director, Hickory's Smokehouse

James Baer, managing director, Amber Taverns
Gary Roberts, operations director, Amber Taverns

Craig Bancroft, managing director, Northcote
Nigel Haworth, chef-patron, Northcote

Tim Bird, owner, Cheshire Cat Pub & Bars
Mary Mclaughlin, owner, Cheshire Cat Pub & Bars

Ken Buckley, managing director, Bravo Inns
Phil Dearden, finance director, Bravo Inns

Maurice Camm, James' Places
Helen Warburton, James' Places
James Warburton, James's Places

Marie Carter, director, Beautiful Drinks
Beau Myers, director, Beautiful Drinks

Paul Cogan, group finance & resources director, Betty & Taylors Group
Rachel Fellow, group communications director, Betty & Taylors Group
Philip Hanson, non exec director, Betty & Taylors Group
Clare Morrow, non exec director, Betty & Taylors Group
Berenice Smith, non exec director, Betty & Taylors Group
Lesley Wild, chair of the board, Betty & Taylors Group

Sarah Cook, director, Vaulkhard Group
Harry Vaulkhard, director, Vaulkhard Group
Oliver Vaulkhard, director, Vaulkhard Group

Morgan Davies, founder / CEO, Barburrito

Stewart Davies, group operations director, GG Hospitality
Ryan Giggs, director, GG Hospitality
Gary Neville, director, GG Hospitality
Michael O'Hare, creative director, GG Hospitality and chef-patron, The Man Behind the Curtain

Carlo Distefano, chairman, San Carlo Group
Marcello Distefano, managing director, San Carlo Group

James Douglas, co-owner / director, Reds True BBQ
Scott Munro, co-owner / director, Reds True BBQ

Roy Ellis, director, Mission Mars
Neil Macleod, director, Mission Mars
Dan Mullen, director, Mission Mars
Joel Wilkinson, director, Mission Mars
Adelaide Winter, director, Mission Mars

John Ennis, owner, Graffiti Spirit
Matthew, Farrell, owner, Graffiti Spirit
Nick, Thomas, Owner, Graffiti Spirit

Jobe Ferguson, director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club
Lyndon Higginson, director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club
Ross Mackenzie, director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club

Kit Graves, director, Lake District Hotels
Charles Graves, director, Lake District Hotels
Dani Hope, sales & marketing director, Lake District Hotels

John Gyngell, director, North Bar / North Brewing Company
Christian Townsley, director, North Bar / North Brewing Company

Jamie Hawksworth, owner, Pivovar / The Tapped Brew Co
Jonathon Holdsworth, founder, Pivovar / The Tapped Brew Co

Chris Hill, managing director, New World Trading Company

James Hitchen, founder, East Coast Concepts
Guy Hitchen, founder, East Concepts

Chris Hopkins, MD, Hydes Brewery

Marko Husak, founder, Bundobust
Mayur Patel, founder, Bundobust

Matthew Jones, managing director, Jones Bar Group
Ben Jones, operations & finance director, Jones Bar Group

Ban Kaewkraikhot, Owner / head Chef, Sukhothai

Kim Kaewkraikhot, Chairwoman, Thai Leisure Group
Martin Stead, Owner, Thai Leisure Group

Ashley Kollakowski, Rose Four Group
Simon Stevens, Rose Four Group

Barry Ladhar, Crafted Projects
Michael Ladhar, Crafted Projects

Terry Laybourne, Owner, 21 Hospitality Group

William Lees Jones, Managing Director, JW Lees

Nisha Katona, Founder, Mowgli Street Food

Tomas Maunier, Director, Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill
Robert Melman, Director, Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill

Paul Moran, Managing Director, Living Ventures
Jeremy Roberts, CEO, Living Ventures

Lucy Nelson, Sales & Marketing Director, Nelson Hotels
Andrew Nelson, Operations Director, Nelson Hotels

Joycelyn Neve, Managing Director, Seafood Pub Company

Andrew Pern, Owner / Executive Chef, The Star at Harome/Star Inn The City

Steve Pilling, Co Owner, Damson Group
Simon Stanley, Co Owner, Damson Group

Jonathan Poole, Director, Red and Blue
Paddy Smith, director, Red and Blue

Simon Potts, managing director, The Alchemist Bar & Restaurant

Oliver Robinson, managing director, Frederic Robinson

Simon Rogan, co-owner, Umbel Restaurant Group

Chris Soley, chief executive, Camerons Brewery
David Soley, chairman, Camerons Brewery

Franco Sotgiu, co-owner, Solita

Chris Ure, owner, Arc Inspirations
Martin Wolstencroft, managing director / Owner, Arc Inspirations

Gary Usher, owner, Sticky Walnut

Steven Walker, CEO, Individual Restaurants

Andrew Wildsmith, founder, Wildsmith Hotels

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