Emsworth fine dining restaurant Woosters is up for sale for £1.5million – and residents say its revival could be great news for foodies
WITH the right leadership a dormant fine-dining restaurant could be resurrected to carry the baton for its town’s ‘foodie’ reputation.
That's the view of residents in Emsworth who are hoping a revival of South Street venue Woosters could be a shot in the arm for the town’s independent scene.
The upmarket eatery failed to reopen after what its owner Nicholas Ralls said would be a ‘short’ closure in January 2018 to ‘enhance customers’ experience’.
But it is now listed for sale at £1,500,000 via Emsworth estate agents Hazle & Co – blowing the opportunity to develop it into a thriving Hampshire hospitality venue wide open.
Alistair Gibson, organiser of Emsworth’s nationally-renowned British Food Fortnight, said: ‘I firmly believe, as a restaurant, it would only add to the foodie reputation Emsworth has.
‘Having organised food festivals and food fortnights myself it was always my view that it was a positive thing when it opened.
‘There are still other places to eat, but Woosters gave people another reason to come to Emsworth.’
Diners were left shocked when Woosters’ doors were permanently battened shut last year in a move one designer has branded a ‘missed opportunity’.
But Hazle & Co office manager Marcus Foot said the chance to snap up the Grade II-listed venue now is ‘unique’ – with its sale also including an adjacent Georgian freehold property which has planning permission to become an eight-bedroom boutique hotel, Jeeves.
‘It was a father-and-son venture and they decided they want to release the capital and use it for other things – it was a diversion from their norm,’ said Mr Foot.
‘The idea now is to create a venue as well as a hotel, particularly for things like the Goodwood Members’ Meetings, so we can have a really great one-stop shop.
‘A high-end venue like that could really resonate in Emsworth.’
After a whopping £1,000,000 renovation in 2014, Emsworth councillor Lulu Bowerman said Woosters’ became an ‘amazing place’ to dine, sup cocktails and soak up the atmosphere.
She is among those rooting for a fruitful future for the venue.
‘I know lots of people enjoyed it and we would be very pleased to see a similar establishment there in the near future,’ she said.
The Woosters site and its adjacent freehold is the highest-value property currently being marketed by Hazle & Co.
The venue is capable of catering for about 90 covers.