A popular Aberdeen city centre café is on the move to bigger premises.
The Kirk View Café Bistro on Union Terrace will take up home on February 17 in the former Pizza Express building on Belmont Street.
Business owner Rob Milne, said part of the decision behind his plan was seeing all the “exciting work” going on in the area.
He said: “It is a gamble taking on a much bigger premises, after all we have been through with the pandemic, but with the big plans for Belmont Street and the increased footfall, we wanted to be part of that.
“We have been in Union Terrace for five years. The restaurant has built up a good reputation and we have committed staff, so after seeing all the plans for Belmont Street we decided to go for it.”
Very busy at peak times
“We have been busy at peak times, with people finding it difficult to book to dine with us, so we hope that we will be able to serve more people.
“We are still in a great location and we will be as near to the theatre as we are now, so we can cater to the same regular crowd.
“We have really enjoyed building our business on Union Terrace, and we have enjoyed working with all our customers – so giving people more space is going to be a bonus of the move.”
While the new premises has the capacity for around 160 covers over the course of an evening, Mr Milne still wants to keep it spacious and plans to serve 120 people each night. The restaurant will be open from 12 until midnight.
The family-owned business has been involved in a number of city centre initiatives, including Aberdeen Restaurant Week.
He continued: “We are ready for the bigger place, Union Terrace is a noisy wee restaurant at times.
Move is thanks to loyal guests
“We would never have managed to put ourselves in this position if it was not for our amazing, loyal guests who visit us time and time again.
“So the new place will give us much more space for people to come and enjoy what we have always done, which is create great food and drinks.”
As part of the plans Mr Milne hopes to get back to having more celebrations, as restrictions ease.
He continued: “Although things have been busy, and as I say the customers have been amazing, I am still gambling on the world getting better. And of course, people continuing to enjoy what we do. Which I am sure they will.”
What is the Belmont Street Quarter?
In December, Aberdeen City Council planners drew up plans for the area around Belmont Street, called the Belmont Street Quarter.
The work was in response to well-received temporary coronavirus-prompted marquees and outdoor eating areas, and a desire to have them made more permanent.
A business case and operational model for the permanent café culture is being developed in consultation with local traders, with a report on the findings to be presented at the council’s city growth and resources committee in February 2022.
Aberdeen City Council city growth and resources committee convener Councillor Ryan Houghton said at the time: “The permanent outdoor eating areas in the Belmont Street Quarter and part of a raft of exciting changes which are happening in Aberdeen.
“These multi-million-pound projects will create a more vibrant and people-friendly city centre and will help to heal the city from the economic damage inflicted by COVID-19 by breathing new life into our city centre, boosting job creation, and promoting a wealth of opportunities to allow businesses and traders to thrive.
“I’d encourage everyone in the area to take part in this consultation and it’s vitally important we understand what the operational requirements are for local businesses in the area as well as help shape the finer details so we can progress this exciting new chapter in the Belmont Street and Back Wynd area.”
The improvements to the Belmont Street Quarter are part of the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP), which is designed to invigorate the area over 25 years with both public and private investment.
First approved in 2015, the CCMP has had several achievements to date including the completion of the award-winning Aberdeen Art Gallery, the completion of Provost Skene’s House, the Music Hall, Marischal Square, and Broad Street.