Chef and restaurateur Paul Heathcote has put his two remaining restaurants up for sale.
Property agent Christie & Co is marketing the Olive Press and Heathcote's Brasserie restaurants, both of which are located in the same site in Preston, for the chef. It is seeking £250,000 for the leasehold interest in the site.
The Olive Press, an Italian restaurant, opened in Preston in 1995 and played host to a range of celebrities over the years including singer Rod Stewart, Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson, football manager David Moyes, DJ Fat Boy Slim and Coronation Street star Helen Worth.
Along with Heathcote's Brasserie (an area of the restaurant used for private dining), the restaurants accommodate 200 covers and occupy the ground and lower ground floor of a four-storey Victorian building, overlooking the gardens of Winckley Square. The Square itself is due to undergo a renovation worth circa £1m during 2016, while nearby Avernham Park was regenerated last year.
Explaining the decision to sell, Heathcote told The Caterer: "I have been there 20 years doing the same thing and I think it is time for a change and also within our contract catering business we have some other opportunities within the pipeline which I can't disclose but it will need more time from me in order that it happens.
"I will continue running the restaurant in the same way that we have done in the last 20 years until we find a purchaser for it. I'd obviously be delighted if it was sooner rather than later but this isn't something that I have suddenly just woken up and decided to do. I thought about it last year and we had an offer last year that we went some distance on and in the end it didn't work out and that made me think that I wish it had happened. The right decision is to put it up for sale."
He said he hoped that staff at the restaurants would have the opportunity either to transfer across to any new operation once a buyer had been found, or to move across to his catering business, Heathcote & Co, as it expanded.
Tom O' Malley of Christie & Co's Manchester Office is handling the sale. He said: "This establishment represents good value for money in the current market. As this is a restaurant with 20 years of trading history in a growing city and a reputation known nationally we are expecting a lot of interest from both existing operators who want to raise their profile in the North West and from first-time buyers who are looking to enter the market."
Heathcote sold his flagship Longridge restaurant, also in Preston, in 2012. He opened it as Paul Heathcote's in 1990 and won a Michelin star and the Newcomer of the Year Catey in 1992. In 1994 he received a second Michelin star and Egon Ronay Chef of the Year award, before a second Catey, this time for Independent Restaurateur of the Year, followed in 1997.
The restaurant lost its second star in 1998 before losing its last remaining star in 2003 when it was relaunched as Longridge restaurant.