Docket No 33 in Whitchurch is relocating to one of the town's historic building, the Tudor fronted, Elizabethan House at 16-18 High Street a former bank.
Renamed the Docket Restaurant, the new venture will also see the addition of four luxury appointed bedroom suites - which the owners say will bring much needed boutique-style tourist accommodation to the town centre. It also allows owners’, Frances and Stuart Collins, to fulfil their hospitality vision of enabling guests dine and stay.
They said while retaining the same 35-cover capacity, the restaurant will feature an open kitchen, chef’s table and a feature bar - making use of the original bank counter. A private dining room, seating 10-12 guests, will be housed in the former Bank Manager’s office while plans have also been submitted to create an intimate Speakeasy style bar in the cellar vault.
Despite the opening of the new premises, the existing building will also continue to operate in a new guise, set to launch later next year.
Frances and Stuart opened Docket No 33 in 2017. The Elizabethan House, the market town’s former NatWest bank, has been empty for several years. It was recently purchased by local entrepreneurs Kassie and Ron Courson.
Commenting on the announcement, Frances Collins said: “We were so excited when Kassie and Ron approached us about this project. Our restaurant business has really developed over the past five years – success helped undoubtedly by talented staff, loyal customers and brilliant local suppliers – but we’ve always wanted to take it to the next level. Lockdown, and our ability to adapt and still see the business flourish made us realise we were ready to expand. We’ve been looking for the right premises to start our own restaurant with rooms for a for a while, so this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. We can’t wait to get started!”.
Work is due to start on the new project early 2023, with the relocation completed by late Spring.
Having spent the previous decade in Michelin restaurants across the globe with Stuart honing his talents as head chef and Frances as restaurant manager, they chose Whitchurch as home. As well as being close to family, they said they were impressed with the breadth and quality and local ingredients – and the passion of the producers supplying them.
In addition to the Michelin recommendation, awarded for the past three years, Stuart was also the regional heat winner of the 2021 Great British Menu.