A popular shopping centre restaurant is opening a new chapter in its history after undergoing a full makeover.
Gillies restaurant, a Washington business since 1995, is entering a new chapter in its history with a full refresh and refit.
The business, based in The Galleries, is in the final stages of a complete makeover with thousands of pounds being invested in new lounge seating, wholescale redecoration and the introduction of outside seating.
The new look coincides with new staff uniforms and will be followed up in the coming months with an improved menu that will provide a fuller range of homemade cakes – including a new gluten free range - as well as a wider range of hot meals and snacks including the restaurant’s signature scones.
The drive is being led by business owners, Guy Stead and Paula Lowes who took the plunge into new careers in catering more than six years ago.
The family-run business has seen Paula’s father, Edward Lawson, also investing in the venture, which now employs 26 people, including six family members and an apprentice.
It’s a really exciting time for our business, which has developed rapidly in the six years since we took over.Paula Lowes
Both Guy and Paula have lived in the North East for much of their lives and previously worked in IT management and teaching respectively.
The final touches, including a refurbishment of the toilets and commissioning art for the walls and finishing touches is on track to be complete in the next couple of weeks.
Paula said: “It’s a really exciting time for our business, which has developed rapidly in the six years since we took over.
“We get so many loyal customers through our doors and enjoy being in the hub of the town centre, here at The Galleries.
“The investment we’re putting in is a step towards developing Gillies further for the future and we hope our customers enjoy the new-look restaurant now we have re-opened its doors.”
Paul and Guy have received the support of the centre’s owners, M&G Real Estate, who committed to upgrade the electricity supply for the restaurant, which will allow the business to expand its menu with a set of new display and chiller cabinets.
Chris Poole, asset manager of M&G Real Estate - which owns The Galleries, added: “Businesses like Gillies are a real asset to The Galleries and help reinforce the community atmosphere of the centre and we were delighted to play our part in investing in the future of the business.”