ESP’s Man About Town is out an about again and has been checking out the changes at The College Arms, new sushi restaurant Inari and has had a look behind the scenes at the new Coyote Bar & Grill…
LET’S MAKE COYOTE A HOWLING SUCCESS
Back in the mid to late 1980s I remember being quite an excited tubby teenager.
I’d just met Maria Whittaker at Truckfest, Father Christmas bought me a Raleigh Burner and I saved up enough money from washing cars to buy my first bottle of Pino Silvestre aftershave.
But what really got me excited was the opening of Viva-La-Rock. I was in the family business (general errand boy) and remember seeing the transition of our Papa Luigi restaurant on the town bridge turn into an American-inspired food and entertainment venue, which was ahead of its time (for Peterborough anyway).
Viva was unique and it was the place to be seen in. In the end it was a flawed icon during a cultural moment in our city centre. The building wasn’t big enough and, in truth, the people of Peterborough just weren’t ready to sustain a venue that took inspiration from the neon-scattered side streets of midtown Manhattan.
Fast-forward to the late 1990s and I got excited again. The Bar in Northminster flung open its doors and it was the first taste of a contemporary bar and eatery for a new generation of revellers.
The Bar cemented itself as one of the best venues the city’s night-time economy has ever seen and when it became Halo, for me at least, it was a bit like substituting a wood-fired Papa Luigi pizza with a frozen excuse of a pizza from Iceland. Basically, the venue was still open but that special feeling had gone and it became a bit soulless.
So, sitting here typing this today, I think I’m getting excited again. And this is because September will see the opening of a new American-themed venue in the city centre with all the ingredients, promise and impression that Viva left on us – but without the Playboy bunny waitresses of course. Remember them?
Coyotes Bar & Grill will be the new name of the Northminster building where Halo has stood empty for the last few years. What excites me first and foremost is that owners John Walker and Neil Owen have 50 years of experience between them in being involved with venues in and around the city. They know the crowd well enough and how to make it work.
The venue is still a couple of weeks from opening but I popped in on a couple of occasions for a peak behind the scenes (see photo above of a couple of weeks back). I even offered to mix some cement but was politely told not to give up the day job. Best of all I was given an exclusive sneak preview of their menu from the company laptop (see how things are moving on in this week’s photo below).
Breakfast at Coyote is going to be epic. I’m salivating at the thought of choosing waffles or pancakes. It’s stressing me out, so I reckon I’ll just have both. Or maybe I’ll got for an omelette? Then there’s macaroni cheese… I can have that for breakfast, can’t I?
The rest of the menu is bursting at the seams with other traditional American favourites, which will leave no-one disappointed I can assure you. The only issue is what to order, since there’s so much choice and there’s a good vegan and vegetarian offering too.
John told me: “Coyotes Bar & Grill is going to be a unique concept for the city centre. It’ll be a seven-day venue open from 8am until midnight and 3am at weekends. The food will be American-inspired and we’ll be introducing some state-side influenced entertainment ranging from eating competitions to line-dancing nights.”
Neil added: “We’re creating a versatile space that’ll serve as a service-led dining area until 10.30pm and then transform into an entertainment area where you’ll be able to dance or be entertained by music, live comedy and other acts depending on what night of the week it is.
“We’ve had a huge response so far on social media and we’re taking onboard suggestions people have made as to what they’d like to see at the venue. We’ve even taken bookings for Christmas parties and we’ll be publishing information about how we can host them safely in the coming weeks.”
Along with the recent refurbishment of The Solstice, Coyotes Bar & Grill could be just the catalyst to reignite that end of town, which will see some significant redevelopment work take place during the coming year or so.
To quote from Field of Dreams: “If you build it they will come.” Let’s just hope they do to the Northminster part of town like we used to in our droves 20 years ago…
BACK TO COLLEGE ISN’T SO BAD
It’s great to see owners of The Solstice, The Draper’s Arms and The College Arms refurbishing to be the best they can be in challenging times.
Throwing the towel in would have been so easy but we’ve got to be thankful none of these venues did when pulling the last pint was, I’m sure at some point, a considered reality.
What’s impressed me the most is that we’re not just talking about a run of the mill splash of paint makeover. And when you see what The College Arms has done, it’s quite impressive.
The conversion project, costing more than £800k, has included internal redecoration and a complete refurbishment of the toilet facilities, but the most striking change is outdoors where the large rear yard’s now a massive brand-new garden area.
Combining the old two small walled courtyards and car park has transformed it into a space that’ll seat 180 people for drinking and dining.
It’s been finished in a stylish way too, with individually landscaped areas lit with festoon and lantern lighting and undercover spots in the form of beach huts, pergolas and glass canopies.
And at the front of the pub, a new paved patio area has added additional pavement-side outdoor seating.
All in all, I think it looks great and just on the beer garden alone The College Arms is back on my ‘let’s meet for a beer’ venue list.
HOW TO DATE AND CONCEIVE? READ THE BIBLE
In a study of 2,000 adults and what they search ‘how to’ videos on, one in 10 said they found love after watching ‘how to date’ tutorials.
One in 10 also thanked video tutorials for successfully conceiving a child. The world is going mad.
Adam and Eve nailed the dating game and Mary didn’t even need to have sex to conceive Jesus. That’s why we need You Tube tutorials for basic carnal desires like a hole in the head.
INARI TO GET MY SUSHI
You see what I did with my headline? Inari (in a hurry). It’s true, I’m in a hurry to sample some sushi from Inari because when I popped in it was just a flying visit (had to pick my mum up from Tesco).
Since then a raft of friends have been in and told me how good it is. I’m waiting for the right moment but in the meantime, I’ve been satisfying my urge with sushi porn videos (yes, You Tube does have its uses).
Executive chef Regimantas Trimakas was supposed to open the restaurant in April and Covid-19 put an end to that. But judging by the sheer number of people I know who ate there during the midweek Eat Out scheme, I’d say Inari’s opening timing was a blessing in disguise.
There’s nothing like Inari in Peterborough and for that reason alone I’m sure the restaurant’s future is a solid one. That end of Broadway is a challenge in terms of footfall but quality always wins and you only have to look across the road at the success of Salamis Taverna and Bombay Brasserie as proof of that.
Check out the menu here www.inarisushigrill.co.uk
DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?
Local street photographer Chris Porsz is a bit of a star and I’ve long been an admirer of his work.
He’s a paramedic by trade but turned his photography hobby into a passion, taking candid photos of local people and places charting the city’s social history for more than 40 years.
It was his mission in his book Reunions to recreate some of the photos he took back in the day with people who were still around at the time (2016) in a then and now setting.
Four years on and he’s on a mission to complete a second book and is trying to find several of the people he’s captured in the past.
I was pleased to assist in making one of those reunions happen for the first book and now Chris has reached out to see if I can help with this photo.
Chris has been told me the man in the photo above is probably Italian. He’s not familiar to me but if anyone recognises him then please do send Chris an email http://www.chrisporsz.com/contact.html
SPEAK SEXY SCOTTISH TO WOO THE LADIES
According to a poll I read somewhere that I can’t care to remember, women find Scottish men have the sexiest accent.
Irish-speaking men came in second and Italian was the third sexiest accent.
I’m clearly not a woman but if I was, choosing between listening to Chris Hoy or Gino D’Acampo whispering sweet nothings in my ear is a bit like choosing between listening to a Teddy Pendergrass album or Wagner from X-Factor.
MY WORD OF THE MONTH: JOB
I won’t scare anyone off with my desire to return to full-time employment. So many companies and organisations have made redundancies and other cuts and God only knows what’ll happen when furlough ends.
So, because I can, I’ll frame myself differently to adjust in these challenging times. This means I’m available for an immediate start whether it be for a day a week, several weeks or for a few months.
Those of you who’ve worked with me before will know I’m proficient in marketing, PR, events, business engagement, sponsorship, sales and competitive eating contests. I’m easily contactable and I promise to make you money.
CAUGHT IN THE ACT!
I thought I’d never see the day but I finally succumbed to post-lockdown woes and bought a dog. She’s a bit of a looker too.
Kev – keeping it local… top work
Lenny – keep me in mind
Mikey – beer in my garden part two?
Dave – my turn to get caffeine and cake…
‘Lettuce’ – what’s the plan?
Shaun – when we going for a ride?