Businesses heading back for a second helping after success of Hull Street Food Nights

Three of Hull’s hard-pressed hospitality businesses are looking forward to a successful summer after reporting a boost in business from their first appearance at Hull Street Food Nights.

The teams behind Asian street food restaurant Oishii Ne, cocktails and crisps destination Kicks Bar and Grill and live music venue Service Station all set out their stalls for the very first time at the opening Hull Street Food Night of 2023 and are now looking forward to the rest of the dates.

Sponsors ResQ also made their debut at the event earlier this month and will be back again for a second helping on Zebedee’s Yard on Thursday 29 June.

Gill Marchbanks, CEO of the contact centre business which employs more than 2,000 people in Hull and is expanding rapidly, said: “Our team had an absolute blast – the atmosphere was electric, and the food was delicious! We’re grateful to have had a chance to contribute to the fun of the event and engage with the people of Hull.”

Throughout the summer each Hull Street Food Night will feature about 30 different food vendors and an entertainment package which will include live music, DJ sets, street entertainment and free glitter face painting. The events, which are organised by HullBID, will all take place in Zebedee’s Yard and Princes Dock Street from 4pm until 9pm and the remaining June date will be followed by two more on Thursday 27 July and Thursday 28 September.

Tom Would, who launched Oishii Ne as a pop-up before taking permanent premises in Paragon Arcade in 2022, was literally counting his chickens as the food flew out in Zebedee’s Yard, where mum Joanne Cater came along to help.

Tom said: “It was really good if a little stressful for our first time! We sold out with about 20 minutes to go. I also had a quick break and took the chance to look at some of the other stalls.

“I don’t think we will change anything for the next one because it went so well. As an example on a busy Saturday in the restaurant we normally get through 2kg of chicken for our karaage and at one Hull Street Food Night we did 25kg!

“We’ve also received a lot of invitations to other events since that night – from East Park to Bridlington and Leeds. There have been more people coming to the restaurant as well. We are beating our best month every month at the moment and it’s the busiest we have ever been.”

Kicks Bar, which hit the headlines earlier this year for the bottomless crips parties at its bar in Paragon Street, concentrated on cocktails for its Hull Street Food Nights debut and will add a highlight from its main menu for round two.

General Manager Chris McWatt said: “Our focus was on the work of our mixologist Lukas and we made some new friends which will help our businesses at Kicks, Rise and Grind Coffee Club at Kingswood and our new place Beverley Hills American Diner, opening soon at Flemingate in Beverley.

“We’re well ahead with our planning for the next one and will be featuring cocktails again and taking our smokers so we can serve up wings with a choice of sauces. We noticed that the food outlets were very busy so we decided to showcase that side of our business as well.”

Jack Hannan, General Manager of Service Station, said the live music and cocktail bar in George Street, Hull, had welcomed many new customers as a result of their presence at Hull Street Food Nights.

Jack said: “It’s the first time we’ve taken part and it went very well. There were three of us from Service Station and we teamed up with Aitcheson’s Brewery at Wawne and they brought along some of their products. They already do quite a few events and it’s something we are trying to do more of for the rest of this summer and into next year.

“It was a good opportunity to promote our bar and it’s working well – we noticed that a few people who came to our rock night on the following Sunday were people we’d met for the first time at Hull Street Food Nights.”

Sponsors and organisers said they were delighted to see businesses doing well at the event.

Gill said: “As a business, we believe that it’s important to support our local community. We recognise that small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of Hull’s economy, and as a business that welcomes and works with local vendors, we’re proud to play our part in supporting the event. Our involvement with Hull Street Food Nights is a way to demonstrate our commitment to our community and local businesses.”

Kathryn Shillito, Executive Director of HullBID, added: “We felt the first Hull Street Food Night of the year was a great success but you don’t have to take our word for it!

“Everybody could see there were big crowds, great food and drink and some fantastic entertainment which all added up to a superb atmosphere and generated extra trade for the stallholders and for other businesses throughout the city centre – we know from our surveys that many attendees continued the fun at bars and pubs throughout the city centre.

“For us the proof of the pudding is in the feedback from the participants and the sponsors. We’re grateful to them all for supporting the event and we’re thrilled that it was such a success for them.”