10 new hospitality businesses Sunderland welcomed in 2020 - despite the tough climate

2020 is a year we’re all glad to see the back of, with our local businesses hit incredibly hard by the pandemic.

Friday, 1st January 2021, 9:49 am

Some in the hospitality sector, however, have defied the tough business climate to pursue their dreams of opening an independent business. Today, we’re shining a light on the new businesses we welcomed on Wearside in 2020 and are looking forward to supporting in 2021.

::1:Stack Seaburn

The biggest new opening of 2020 has to be the much-anticipated STACK Seaburn. The £3million shipping container village managed to breathe new life into the old Seaburn Centre site when it opened in August, despite all the hurdles thrown its way by the pandemic.

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Despite the tough business climate, new businesses have opened in Sunderland in 2020

Whilst adhering to Covid regulations, the site has still managed to be a vibrant and popular addition to the seafront, providing a host of street food traders and daily live music and entertainment. It's currently only open for click and collect food, but is looking forward to reopening in 2021. Stack phase 2 is also planned for next year at the rear of the current site, taking the number of containers to more than 80.

::2:CoffeeHaus, John Street

Businesswoman Ashley Bell realised her dream of opening her own coffee shop this year, creating a stylish shop in former under stairs space at Port Independent on the corner of John Street and St Thomas Street in the city centre.

Ashley champions fellow North East independents at her business, with coffee from Baristocracy in North Shields and cakes, truffle and pastries from Sunderland bakers such as Whipped Goods Co and Bread&.

Stack Seaburn opened for sit-in over the summer and is currently open for click & collect in Tier 3.

::3:The Train Line, Seaburn Metro Station

His third business in Fulwell, businessman Christian Carney opened The Train Line at the former Seaburn News unit at Seaburn Metro Station in Autumn. The cake and coffee shop has proved a hit with its colourful cake counter, American sodas, fudges and more.

Trade is already doing well and is expected to improve even further once regular Metro journeys resume.

::4:Bread&, North East BIC, Hylton Riverside

Ashley Bell, owner of CoffeeHaus

You can purchase their goods at city businesses such as The Urban Kitchen in Pallion, Grinder in Durham Road and CoffeeHaus in John Street. Or, you can order direct from the bakery for click and collect at https://www.breadand.co.uk/

::5:Carnival House cafe and arts space, Southwick

Christian Carney opened The Train Line in Autumn

It's a great space with colourful carnival costumes on the walls, a stage for performances and a cafe offering healthy treats. It was recently awarded £72,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund so it can continue its good work in the community.

::6:Six, Pier Point, Roker

Although it's closed for sit in dining for the time being, you can order its platters for collection. Co-owner Richard Cooney has 28 years experience in the pub trade, having previously been involved in well-known businesses The Broadway, The Ashbrooke and, more recently, The Belmont in Durham.

He teamed up with business partner Tracey McCluskey for Six, who previously owned Relish in Sunderland city centre and then its successful spin off catering company Relish the Thought.

::7:The Little Shop, High Street West

Bread& Bakery opened in Hylton Riverside

The former Holmeside Takeout unit next door to Mexico 70 still sells excellent coffee, but this year it reopened as The Little Shop selling so much more including artisan donuts, natural wines, craft ales and more. The owners of established businesses Holmeside Coffee, Mexico 70, Ship Isis and Independent teamed up to open the shop to cater for the increase in demand for quality products at home.

It’s open for takeout and click & collect at LittleShop.uk

::8:Fat Unicorn, Mackie’s Corner

December saw the opening of deli Fat Unicorn, the latest business to open as part of the on-going renovation of the historic Mackie’s Corner. The deli specialises in artisan cheeses, meats and nibbles, as well as wines and cocktails you won’t find on the supermarket shelves.

It’s the brainchild of husband and wife team Scott and Amanda Martin who have a combined 30 years’ experience in the high end hospitality sector, working in esteemed restaurants and hotels such as Newcastle’s Michelin-starred House of Tides, The Rosewood London, The Square Mayfair, as well as luxury ski company Ski Verbier Exclusive.

::9: The Sweet Petite, Mackie’s Corner

Another independent to open in the city centre landmark, The Sweet Petite opened following the success of its cake trailer in Seaburn over the summer. They sell a kaleidoscope of sweet treats, including truffles, cheesecakes, brownies, macaroons and more.

::10:The Palm Beach, Hylton Riverside

Over the summer, the outdoor space at The Palm was a perfect place to enjoy a drink outdoors with friends whilst social distancing. Rather than a new business, it’s a new addition to the existing Palm development on Hylton Riverside.

An underused storage area to the side of the existing site was installed with an outdoor bar and sand pit with additional seating and is a great example of bars adapting to Covid.

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Carnival House opened in Southwick
Six brought cheeseboards and more to Pier Point
The Little Shop in High Street West
Husband and wife duo Scott and Amanda Martin at their new deli Fat Unicorn
Thomas and Laura Graham inside of Sweet Petite. Picture by Frank Reid
The Beach at The Palm