OUR STORY HOW IT STARTED
It all started back in 1995 when we opened our First restaurant in Gee Cross Village, we converted a failed clothes shop in the centre of the village into The Stable Bistro. When Stables opened in May 1995 we were only both only 21 years old so we had a lot to learn about business very quickly.
My background (Gareth) was I had been a chef working in some of the best hotels in the area as a pastry Chef. Hotels included Etrop Grange, Alderley Edge Hotel and the Belfry, all hotels with excellent reputation for quality. Other venues where I went for experience included Rookery Hall and Fishers again hotels of the highest standards.
Sarah had worked as a nanny to some interesting and influential families including a former England rugby player and executives of blue chip international companies.
Whilst we both enjoyed our work and being very young we knew we wanted something else and decided to open a restaurant serving the quality food which I was use to producing, but in a local restaurant; we owned Stables until 2007 so had it for a fantastic 12 Years.
In 2003 we expanded by buying a old pub in Stalybridge with the idea of creating a new style of restaurant, we named it Flamin nosh. It was a modern idea for the time with its luxurious open kitchen surrounded in an abundance of granite. Flamin nosh was much larger than Stables and with its Mediterranean food, we had a new challenge of creating a brand new exciting menu and running two restaurants, Flamin nosh was a huge success.
After we sold the Stables in 2007 it gave me a chance to peruse a private goal of learning to fly. Since we had worked non-stop for the past 12 years this was a very different experience. I enrolled on to one of the world’s most prestigious commercial flying schools and trained as a commercial pilot, thoroughly interesting time which involved me living in London and Span for nearly 18 months to complete the training. I am now a trained commercial pilot.Whilst I was learning to fly Sarah continued to run Flamin nosh and bring up our young family, as I could only come home at weekends.
Around the end of 2008, most people began to feel the strain of a rapid recession, like many this has given many companies difficult economic trading challenges. Now I am a qualified commercial pilot I wanted to gain employment as a pilot for a airline, unfortunately airlines where going bankrupt very quickly and every airline that I got accepted for when bankrupt, was I the kiss of death! So if you think you can get me an airline job, that sounds like a reward for free eating for life in the restaurant!
Throughout the recession the restaurant did suffer with a drastic drop in trade like most businesses. We have never been complacent and like most tried many ideas to increase trade; ultimately if no-body has any spare money or are worried about their jobs reality is there was nothing we could do, other than ride the economic storm.
Throughout his time we never stopped thinking about how we should take the restaurant forward, it was coming to its 10 year anniversary and we needed a refurbishment, but what should we do?
Sarah and I couldn’t quite agree what to do, although our visions were similar they were different; we knew it had to be special to go forward for another 10 years!
The refurbishment would need to represent today’s trends but be more than a quick fashion. One day Sarah and I sat down and said let’s start from scratch;
what type of food do people really like at the moment? ITALIAN!
What style of cooking do people like today? GRILL!
We both agreed on the new restaurant name
So not a refurbishment and paint but a brand new exciting restaurant.
We still had a small problem, we couldn’t agree on a new look, colours or design. The solution we came up with was to use PH-Architecture, a talented interior designer and architect from Mosley. We have known Patrick for a long time so agreed to let him do the design, he came back which a black, white and red design with quartz walls, odd chairs, fixed seating in white on one side of the restaurant with contrasting black on the other side. We were not sure this would look very good, but we had agreed to accept his design and have faith so we did everything he said. The outcome we think is fantastic!
We have been in Tameside as restaurateurs now for nearly 20 years, we still trade from our original company and one of our beliefs has always been to support local business’. A company in Hyde were recommended called Posh Bananas, they are specialists in fixed seating and joinery for restaurants, offices and homes. Together PH-Architecture and Posh Bananas helped to plan the complete refurbishment closing on 4 August and 5 days later opening with our new trading name ITALIAN-GRILL.
Italian-Grill has been a instant success thanks to your support and we believe it brings a new level of luxury and style to Tameside, it has been described as our Grown up restaurant, we hope you enjoy it as much as we have designing, building and running it.
In 2016 we sold the restaurant to Michael Love who we through would have a great success, unfortunately due to poor health he has left so we are back again! Although we are refurbishing the restaurant and opening it with functions and outside catering we are going to be caretakers and ultimately we will be finding a new operating partner this time so we can help and advise with our experience over the years. We have many new and exciting ideas for re-branding as the “Pop up Pizza company” making it an express pizza restaurant or becoming a “Vegan restaurant”. What we will do long term is still unknown and Covid-19 has made things uncertain but the brand change will happen when we have a new partner, for now we will be the faithful Italian-Grill.
With today’s pandemic we are at a strange time, we have had to stop outside catering and postpone the restaurant fully opening. The restaurant is fully refurbished inside with only the outside waiting to be painted. Whatever the time scale the restaurant we be open again as soon as it is allowed, we look forward to serving you again.
Sarah and Gareth Bird.