An experienced publican and restaurateur launched a new food place with a difference earlier this year – despite the obvious Covid challenges.
But now their Mediterranean dishes are proving hugely popular at their newly-refurbished outlet near Peterlee – creating seven new jobs in the process.
Richard Parker, and his business partner Chris Walls, originally launched Spread from the Med, operating from the Food Pit in Durham, in November 2019.
Trade was flying and the pair had ambitious growth plans for the summer before coronavirus and lockdown temporarily ended their dreams.
With the Food Pit closed, they boldly decided to open their own place – the Spread from the Med Taverna – at Bracken Hill Business Park.
Since opening in July, they have expanded to launch a street food deli takeaway to complement the sit-in Taverna.
Their success has created seven new jobs and, even under the latest restrictions, they have retained their staff to continue deliveries and takeaways.
Richard, from Easington, who has worked in the hospitality and entertainment industry across the North-East and abroad for more than 30 years, said: “We actually started out a couple of years ago with a refurbished horse box serving Mediterranean food at festivals, summer carnivals, public displays and private functions.
“An opportunity came up at the Food Pit in Durham, we started trading there in November 2019 and things really took off, we were one of the busiest stands in there.
“We were planning to expand with the busier summer months in Durham ahead, but then obviously lockdown came along and put paid to all that.
“I started looking around and found this place. I’ve always said fortune favours the brave, so we went for it.
“We took advantage of a bounceback loan and invested every penny into the Taverna, and even despite the latest restrictions we’re still doing OK, offering a popular takeaway and delivery service.
“People are always looking for something different, and they’ll always come back if you offer quality.
“So the hope is we can see it through to next year, and look forward to even better times in 2021.”
Spread from the Med offer a range of Mediterranean food, street food Deli takeaways and Sunday roasts – and are also now serving hand-crafted oven-baked pizzas.
They’re open 8am-10pm Mon-Fri, 10am-10pm Saturdays and 11am-10pm Sundays.