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Hard Rock Cafe project is music to owners’ ears after “rocky road” to completion

Hard Rock Cafe Newcastle 1

Hard Rock Cafe will open its doors at Newcastle’s historic Guildhall later this month as the famous restaurant chain lands in the North East for the first time.

Along with memorabilia from some of the music industry’s biggest names, it will feature a US-inspired menu, cocktails and even a culinary tribute to its new home city.

The sought-after franchise was secured by North East healthcare entrepreneurs David and Penny Tilly, with the support of NGI and NE1.

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Mrs Tilly said that although the route to launching the site had been challenging, the duo were “delighted to be opening and can’t wait to see the reaction to it”.

She said: “It’s been quite a rocky road what with the obstacles that inevitably come with listed buildings and, of course, a global pandemic. But Hard Rock has been incredibly supportive.

“As everyone knows, their standards are incredibly high, but they’ve backed us to the hilt and now we just want to see people’s faces when they see it. I think they’ll be blown away – and it’s a great coup for the city to have the first ever Hard Rock Cafe in the North East of England.”

Sited across two floors of the Grade I listed building, the restaurant will be able to serve up to 180 covers.

The menu includes the steak burgers for which Hard Rock is famous, as well as salads, grilled chicken and sandwiches.

The highlight of the menu is a unique addition in the form of the black and white ‘Whey Aye Burger’, designed specifically for the first North East restaurant.

The burger comes with Northumberland cheese, Newcastle Brown Ale onion compote, horseradish cream with a spring onion, cheddar cheese and pease pudding beignet – served in a toasted charcoal and sesame seed bun.

In true Hard Rock fashion, diners will be seated alongside glass cabinets filled with fascinating rock and roll memorabilia and, for those keen to snap up a memento of their visit, there will be a Hard Rock shop selling themed merchandise.

Anibal Fernandez, vice president of franchise operations at Hard Rock International, said: “Opening Hard Rock Cafe Newcastle during 2021 has been a huge challenge for our partners, and we feel extremely proud to finally be able to announce the opening of this iconic cafe in the beautiful city of Newcastle.

“We will be opening our doors with Hard Rock’s stringent and awarded ‘SAFE + SOUND’ programme developed by a team of hospitality experts in collaboration with worldwide health and sanitation specialists, such as Ecolab and NSF, including directives from key agencies, such as the World Health Organization and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognised companies with venues in 248 locations spanning 70 countries that include owned, licenced or managed hotels, casinos, shops, cafes and concert halls.

Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns and showcases the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia at more than 83,000 pieces.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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