Jamie Oliver has played down reports that he has secured a site for a new branch of Jamie's Italian in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
It was reported today that the celebrity chef's casual dining concept had acquired the Bell pub in the town and that the bid was already facing opposition from the Campaign for Real Ale.
However, a spokesman for Oliver told Caterer that, while Jamie's Italian was interested in the site, nothing has been confirmed yet.
Jamie's Italian, which is headed up by managing director Simon Blagden, currently operates 14 sites including Bath, Brighton, Cambridge, Canary Wharf, Covent Garden, Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford and Westfield.
It has two more slated to open - in part of a former Borders book store at the Bullring in Birmingham in October, and in Nottingham's Low Pavement area.
Speaking to Caterer earlier this year, Bladgen said he was open-minded about new locations for Jamie's Italian.
"Any decent city, decent suburb, great out-of-town scheme," he said. "Anywhere we can improve the offer for the public."
By Daniel Thomas
E-mail your comments to Caterer News here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs