It's over a year since restaurants, bars and cafes were first ordered to close their doors. Many places chose to diversify in order to recover, adapting to providing takeaway food rather than shutting their kitchens completely. In many cases, however, the closures have take their toll and the past 13 months have been a huge struggle.
Finally, after what has been a roller coaster ride for all, the hospitality industry was allowed to reopen its seated outdoor spaces on 12 April this year, hosting groups of up to six people. Table reservations began online and via the telephone as soon as Boris Johnson announced the plans in February, and venues were soon building up ridiculously long waiting lists.
Opening a restaurant is notoriously difficult at the best of times, but opening one during a pandemic is a particularly difficult feat. We spoke to a family-run chain who has not only weathered the storm, but has also managed to get a new venue off the ground in just eight weeks. The Spaghetti Tree, Warlingham, is a sister restaurant to the well-established Walton branch of the same name and has been named Pizzeria Al Fresco.
Our team attended the launch on 28 April, and experienced a lively evening in their luxury garden. Delicious Italian sourdough, tasty wood-fired pizza and refreshing drinks were on the menu, accompanied by a DJ and live saxophonist. Our photographer Sarah, from Sarah Olivia Photography, snapped away all evening, getting some great paparazzi shots!
We would like to wish The Spaghetti Tree the best of luck as they embark on their new adventure, and we also send our support to all our local establishments as they welcome customers once more.
Throughout this uncertain time, our community has displayed huge amounts of resilience and I feel we should be really proud of the continuing strength and comfort we have shown to each other.
As always, we are your newspaper and whether you are a local resident or business, we are here to support you and provide you with a platform to voice your opinions. Please contact us if you think we may be able to help you.
The Caterham and District Independent team.
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