Fruit Market set to welcome back diners and drinkers

Fruit Market businesses

Fruit Market restaurateurs, from left, Mukesh Tirkoti of Tapasya @Marina, Chris Eastaugh of Butler Whites, and Paul Stockdale of Humber Fish Co lead a toast to their re-opening with fellow traders in Humber Street. Photo: Karl Andre Photography.

Restaurants, cafés and bars in the Fruit Market are working together as they prepare to welcome customers back to some of Hull’s favourite places to eat, drink and socialise.

Hospitality businesses in the waterfront urban village are putting in place extensive arrangements to ensure diners and drinkers enjoy a safe and enjoyable experience from this weekend.

Owners say they can’t wait to welcome their staff and customers back after more than three months of closure and are committed to ensuring everyone’s safety, while also offering a warm welcome and exceptional service.

Tables of no more than six people can be booked in advance for limited time periods from Saturday, July 4, and customers are being encouraged to plan their visits to the Fruit Market and make the most of the area’s range of eating and drinking venues.

Lee Kirman, co-owner of the Minerva pub, Humber Street Distillery Co and Taphouse Brewpub, said all three businesses adapted to provide takeaway services during lockdown and they are now looking forward to welcoming customers in person from Saturday.

Customers will be able to stay for up to two hours, orders will be taken at the bars in Taphouse and Minerva, and food and drinks will be served to tables. Orders will be taken at the tables at Humber Street Distillery Co and all three venues will operate at 60% capacity to enable social distancing.

The venues will also operate a table service mobile app for orders to be placed electronically, limiting the need for contact. The Ordery app can be downloaded easily and quickly when customers scan a Quick Response (QR) code in any of the three venues. 

Lee said: “While we’re slightly apprehensive about re-opening, we’re relieved and very happy to be able to return. We’re really looking forward to our staff and customers coming back.

“We want everyone to enjoy themselves safely and responsibly and, if customers plan in advance, they can enjoy a few venues around the Fruit Market. We have hand sanitiser inside and outside, there will be screens at the bars and staff will wear gloves.

“We’re all friends around the Fruit Market and we’re supporting each other in coming back. We want to get the buzz and good vibes back.”

Butler Whites restaurant will re-open on Saturday from 1pm and continue to open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from then. 

Co-owner Chris Eastaugh said contactless payments are preferred, tables of up to six people from two households can be booked over the phone in advance and foot-operated hand sanitiser stations will be in place. Social distancing signage will be displayed and a limited menu of favourite Butler Whites dishes will be available.

Chris said: “We’ve missed our customers and they’ve missed us. We all want to get back to work and since we got the nod from the Government everyone in the Fruit Market has been talking to each other about their plans.

“Our Facebook page has been inundated with enquires. It’s going to be very different, but we want to keep some of the theatre of Butler Whites and make it as enjoyable as possible for everyone.

“We’ve taken out 10 tables and substituted them with large whiskey barrels to allow for social distancing. We like to talk to people, so bookings will be taken over the phone. With the new ways of operating, we believe Butler Whites will become even more of a destination venue and coming to us an event.”

Bert’s Pizza & Gelato overlooking the Stage@TheDock amphitheatre will also re-open its doors on Saturday. Contactless payments will be encouraged and hand sanitiser points will be available, while staff will wear gloves and masks and have their own dedicated cleaning stations for tables.

Andy Chase, General Manager at Bert’s, said: “We’re so happy to be able to welcome our customers back. As a Fruit Market community, we’ve kept in touch and there is plenty of space around the area for everyone to enjoy the experience safely.”

Other venues re-opening their doors this weekend include Tapasya @ Marina, Ambiente Tapas, Humber Fish Co, Thieving Harry’s, Humber Street Gallery and Studio Eleven, while the Tribal II bar will open on Friday, July 10.

Nibble @TheDock café next to the C4DI tech hub will continue to offer its pre-order and collect service, with the addition of socially distanced seating, rugs and cushions outside, and toilets open inside, from Saturday. Live music performances will also take place on Saturday.

This weekend’s step forward means almost every business in the Fruit Market will have returned, following the recent re-opening of retailers, with only a few exceptions, including Temple Gym and GH&36 beauty salon, which are preparing to re-open once the Government gives the green light. The Dinostar dinosaur museum will also re-open soon.

Hairdressers have also been given the go-ahead to return from Saturday and Mousey Browns salon in Humber Street will re-open to customers by appointment only.

Owner Sarah Clayton said staff will wear face shields, customers will be asked to wear masks, each station will be sanitised between appointments and sanitiser and hand washing facilities will be available.

Sarah said: “I’m really excited and can’t wait to start seeing everyone again. The Fruit Market community has been really supportive and we’ve all helped each other as much as we can. I have a great team and I’m looking forward to working with them all again.”

This weekend’s re-opening of many more businesses in the Fruit Market also means a welcome return to work for dozens of staff who had been on furlough during the forced closure.

Businesses in the Fruit Market have been supported during the lockdown period by the Wykeland Beal joint venture of Wykeland Group and Beal Homes, which is driving forward the area’s regeneration, working in partnership with Hull City Council.

Tom Watson, Chartered Development Surveyor at Wykeland Group, said: “It’s great that the vast majority of businesses in the Fruit Market can now re-open and their return is a great tribute to the resilience of these independent traders.

“Many of the hospitality businesses had come up with innovative ways to provide takeaway and collection services during the lockdown and they have now come together as a community to prepare for the return of full trading.

“It means the Fruit Market will once again be the most attractive and safest place in the city to visit for something to eat, drink and socialise with family and friends.”

Stay in touch with the re-opening plans and all the great things happening in the Fruit Market on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @FruitMarketHull.

[John Meehan – Meehan Media & Comms]