The hospitality industry has faced blow after blow during the Covid-19 pandemic – with three national lockdowns and ever changing tier restrictions to battle, it hasn’t been an easy ride.
Currently, in the third national lockdown, sadly our favourite restaurants, cafes, pubs and other hospitality venues must remain shut.
But the silver lining is that they can continue doing delivery or takeaway – but only for food.
Takeaway pints are also no longer allowed from pubs. However, you can to walk to a pub, restaurant or other outlet and pick up takeaway food.
And if you’re getting your takeaway delivered, rather than picking it up, it can come with alcohol.
We decided to talk to one of Plymouth’s top restaurants, as ranked on TripAdvisor, to find out how popular restaurants have been faring after continuous changes to what they can and can’t do.
“Every weekend we’ve been sold out”
Chef Fletcher Andrews has invested in his Fletcher’s eatery a stone’s throw from the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
The 25-year-old heads of one of the youngest teams in the Plymouth dining scene.
He trained at City College Plymouth and worked at a number of top Plymouth restaurants, including the New Continental Hotel, Morgan’s and the Mission before becoming sous chef at Treby, progressing to head chef.
A high-flyer on Tripadvisor and listed on the Trencherman’s Guide to the best South West restaurants, the venue was opened by Fletcher and his partner Jess Harkom, with help from Martin, Fletcher’s sister Tolon Andrews and her boyfriend George Roberts in 2018.
Fletcher was formerly head chef at the prestigious Treby Arms, at Sparkwell on the edge of Plymouth, and has brought in three of his former colleagues from the former Michelin starred establishment, which closed in 2019.
But the restaurant, as with many other eateries, hit a hurdle when they had to shut due to the first lockdown back in March 2020.
Unable to operate during the lockdowns, Fletcher and his father Martin Andrews decided to upgrade the restaurant, investing in a new bar and creating the conservatory-style extension.
That has allowed them to add 16 socially-distanced covers and bring in a baby grand piano, a much-admired feature of the Chloe’s, the restaurant that operated in the space before it closed and Fletcher opened his business in late 2018.
Business boss Jess told PlymouthLive how the restaurant has been faring since opening and closing during lockdown.
She explained they had been operating as a takeaway service, and are currently offering delicious handcrafted pasties and sausage rolls.
“Every weekend we’ve been sold out, it’s just brilliant,” Jess said.
But she explained the last lockdown definitely hit the team.
“It’s been really hard. With the last one [lockdown] it was quite upsetting because they gave us about six hours’ notice.
“We had to close and we lost a lot of our wines and the drinks side of it. You can’t help it though.”
She continued: “Then with Fletcher, all of our produce is local and fresh so especially last time we ordered everything in because we were fully booked for New Year’s Eve and then they closed us.
“So that’s been really hard, opening and shutting each time we lose more and more. Hopefully this is the last one!
“I’m trying to do stuff around the house, but I’d rather be in work!”
She added: “This weekend we’re doing our dine-in box for two which is our beef wellington with creamy mash, tender-stem broccoli and red wine ju.
“Then it comes with a dessert to finish; ginger cake with a banana mousse and creme en glace. It gives a list of instructions and all you have to do is take it away and cook it at home.
“We had someone order a few and gave us some feedback and they really enjoyed it, which was really nice. We’re releasing it this weekend which should be good!”
Jess added: “If it goes well we’re going to look at doing different dine-in boxes each week. Especially if we’re not open on Valentine’s Day, we’re going to try and do something then as well.”