Three of Melton’s traditional pubs are set to be turned into two Indian restaurants and an Italian restaurant.
The White Lion in Nottingham Street is soon to open as L’Oliveto Restaurant at The White Lion, serving Mediterranean and English cuisine
The business, which currently has a restaurant on the shore of Rutland Water, won a 2012 East Midlands Food and Drink Award for best European restaurant. Its customers have included Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy and his family, who live in the Melton area.
Director Ben Ladjimi said the new Melton restaurant, expected to open in the first or second week of October, will also have a Champagne bar and dance floor and will be open until 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. He added that about £70,000 had been spent on the property and that five chefs and about eight other staff were being taken on, along with two or three security guards and a DJ.
Meanwhile the Spice Club Indian restaurant in Burton Street is moving into its new premises - the former Mash Tub pub in Nottingham Street. Manager Uzzal Miah, who has run the Spice Club for 18-and-a-half years, said he hoped to be open by the end of this month or early next month.
He added: “I’m very excited. We want to create a friendly restaurant for the local community. The new restaurant is going to be bigger, nicer and more convenient for parking.
“We will have a larger dining area, a separate takeaway and lounge area and also a champagne room where customers can have their own party.
“We’ve had a fantastic reaction from our customers - they think it’s brilliant. We’ll also be taking on more staff, creating more jobs for the local community.”
Work is also currently being carried out on the former Bricklayer’s Arms pub in Greenslade which is set to become an Indian Restaurant.
Owner Atul Dawda also owns the Spice of India in Syston (for 25 years) and is former owner of Swatlands Indian restaurant in Oadby which he sold to his brother in 2004.
Mr Dawda has owned ‘The Brickies’ for eight years but said his early plans for it were put on hold after the economy ‘buckled a bit’.
He said: “Everything has been passed and we’re just trying our best to hopefully open before the end of the year.
“We’re spending a lot of money on it to keep its original features and make it look nice. I know it’s been a bit of an eyesore for a while so we’re looking forward to getting the building back into shape. I also have some good chefs lined up who are keen to put their stamp on the place.”
Kevin Billson, chairman of the Melton Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branch, said they were saddened to see more of the town’s pubs closing.
He said: “We’re disappointed when pubs which we consider are viable businesses have a change of use. We think the best places to enjoy real ale are pubs which serve the local community.
“We’re never going to get these pubs back but I do worry a bit about the evening economy in Melton. With even more restaurants you start to wonder where it’s going to end.
“With the exception of the Gas Tap in Burton Street we don’t seem to be getting an injection of pub companies wanting to open premises in Melton. If you go to Oakham it seems new premises have opened there. Pubs seem to be able to thrive there but not in Melton.”