Chef Nick Nairn has revealed plans to rebuild his Bridge of Allan restaurant Nick's on Henderson Street "bigger and better" after a fire destroyed the kitchen last year.
The fire was caused by a piece of kitchen equipment that malfunctioned during service on the evening of Saturday 28 August.
"It was a nightmare scenario for any restaurant owner. We had 10 chefs in the kitchen and 120 guests dining in the restaurant when the fire broke out at 7.30pm, right in the middle of service," Nairn (pictured right) told The Caterer.
"I'm so proud of my team for how bravely and quickly they reacted, shutting off gas, disconnecting power and evacuating from the kitchen.
"We happened to have a senior police offer in the restaurant who made herself known, and between her and the general manager they were able to quickly and safely evacuate everyone from the building within 90 seconds."
Nobody was hurt or required hospital treatment. However, the damage to the kitchen was extensive and Nairn said it will need to be demolished and completely rebuilt. The front of house area was so damaged by the heat and smoke that all fittings and fixtures will also need to be replaced, including plumbing and wiring.
Nairn said: "We're incredibly lucky to have the restaurant in the stunning location, but it is a conservation area and extensive planning has been needed before we can get to work on the site. There are road closures needed for demolition work, planning permission and building warrants required. We would love to reopen by the end of this summer, but I'm learning to be patient when navigating the hurdles we're facing."
Plans for the property include extending the kitchen and an improved layout for service and food preparation, as well as a heat exchanger that will heat the restaurant. The building will also have more storage space and an improved dining room layout. Managing director and Nairn's wife Julia (pictured left) will be designing the interiors.
In the meantime, Nairn's cookery school at Port of Menteith in Stirlingshire has been repurposed as a restaurant, which he described as "a life saver". The site itself suffered two floods last year.
"We have so many plans in the pipeline which are keeping us going," said Nairn. "We're also reconfiguring the Port of Menteith site to develop the restaurant and re-establish the cookery school. We've got fantastic outdoor space there which makes it great for alfresco dining and events and a home and cookware shop. So, we should have two restaurants and the cookery school open by the end of the year."
The business also includes the Kailyard by Nick Nairn restaurant at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Dunblane.
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