Restaurant group overcomes agony of hot-plate blaze

Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

A restaurant in Norwich that has been closed for two months because of a hot-plate fire is due to reopen in October — and has confirmed that it will add two further sites over the next 12 months.

Middletons Steakhouse and Grill has reportedly lost £500,000 in trade since it was forced to close due to smoke damage at the start of August.

25 fire-fighters from three stations were called to deal with the blaze after a hot-plate was mistakenly left on overnight.

But the site is currently undergoing a £300,000 refurbishment and managing director, Stephen Hutton, said the group would come back stronger than ever.

“It’s been a tough time for us and our staff,” he told the Eastern Daily Press. “The business is owned by myself and another person; we don’t have millions in the bank supporting us. But we have had so much support from customers. When we do reopen we will have a new-look restaurant. It will be more modern and better designed. It will still look like Middletons but it will be better than it was before we had the incident.”

Norwich is the busiest of the company’s four restaurants, accounting for a third of its turnover. It also has sites in Milton Keynes and Colchester, as well as Middleton, near King’s Lynn, where it got its name. A fifth site is due to open in Watford in November and a sixth in Leicester in April 2016.

Hutton said that prior to the fire, the Norwich restaurant attracted 3,000 customers a week and 1,000 at the weekend.

“When we first opened in Norwich, we said we would be happy to get half the income we ended up doing. “It’s been a runaway success. We dreamt of it, but we never thought it would be the busiest restaurant in Norwich.”

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