Shropshire Star

New Peach Tree bosses share plans for venue as they prepare to reopen restaurant

It's all systems go as the new bosses of a popular Shrewsbury restaurant work round the clock to prepare it for its reopening just a week after its future looked in doubt.

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The new bosses of The Peach Tree, including Chloe Das-Gupta, Michael Halford, Amy Taylor, Gill Arnold and Dani Leah

The Peach Tree in Abbey Foregate welcomed customers again on Friday eight days after the previous management announced it was closing with immediate effect. However the 25-year-old restaurant has now been taken over by The Shire Collection in a deal that took just five days to complete.

The Shire Collection, a group which runs other venues in the county including The Buttercross in Market Drayton and The Boujee Lounge, formerly Regency Bar, in Castle Foregate, Shrewsbury, is leasing The Peach Tree along with the Havana Republic, Spirit Venue and The Lounge bars which are all found in Abbey Foregate.

The new bosses opened the doors at 10am on Friday to welcome the first of this year's Christmas Party bookings.

Speaking ahead of the reopening, director Michale Halford said: "Everyone is extremely excited about what's going on, preparations are in full swing.

"Since signing the lease it's been a case of 'wow, this is actually happening'. Everyone is on an emotional high. There's been a lot of positivity from everyone.

"After the last table is served tomorrow (Friday), we will sit down and have a celebratory drink."

Staff are getting ready to welcome customers again from tomorrow

Staff have been contacting those with Christmas party bookings at the restaurant, with the phone ringing "non-stop" as customers seek to confirm existing reservations.

Dani Leah, The Peach Tree's new supervisor, said the reaction of those with bookings had been one of delight, with some disappointed as they have since made alternative arrangements they feel they ought to honour.

However, Mr Halford added that some people who had received refunds had rebooked, and they were expecting walk-ins once the restaurant is open again.

The new bosses have also said there will be no rebranding of any establishment.

Miss Leah said: "It's still going to be The Peach Tree, Havana Republic and Spirit Venue. The names won't change as they have been cemented into people for two decades.

"We would never take that heritage away."

Michael Halford, director of The Shire Collection that is now running The Peach Tree

However, Mr Halford told the Shropshire Star about some of the changes customers can expect to see over the coming weeks and months.

While the festive menus will remain the same, the daily menu is set to change and due to be launched next week.

Another change includes converting a room sandwiched between The Peach Tree and Havana Republic into a deli.

"We're calling it the Buttercross Deli," Mr Halford said, "selling paninis, baguettes and with a salad bar, for people who can't come in and sit down for a meal but still want our food". It's hoped the new deli will be operating in the first quarter of 2023.

A deli is planned for this room between The Peach Tree and Havana Republic

There are also plans to open seven days a week instead of the previous five, when the venue was closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. However, that is not due to happen until after Christmas.

In their statement announcing the closure of The Peach Tree, Paul Monahan from The Peach Tree Restaurant Ltd said it had been "making substantial financial losses on a weekly basis throughout this year".

Mr Halford said that being part of a bigger group of businesses should help reduce costs when ordering supplies.

Havana Republic is now being run by The Shire Collection too
Spirit Level has also been taken over by the group

Speaking about why he took the venues on, he added: "There's so much potential and the plans we have got for next year are really, really exciting.

"Reading the (Facebook) posts people were saying wanted to try the place again. It's not until something is going that you miss it. The overall comments have been overwhelming too."

Miss Leah added: "It's probably the biggest venue in Shrewsbury.

"For us who grew up in Shrewsbury (Dani and new overall manager, Amy Taylor), we went into C:21 (now Spirit Venue) when we turned 18 and the whole venue and building has been inprinted in everyone's memory."

Mr Halford also said that they had been able to retain a level of previous staff, working alongside those who are already part of The Shire Collection. He added that he'd be to talk to any staff who wanted to return after the announcement of The Peach Tree's closure last week led to some finding new jobs.