Rusk, who currently owns the Butchershop Bar & Grill and is vice chairman of the Glasgow Restaurant Association, drove past the building one day and found himself inspired.
He said: “I called the National Trust for Scotland which owns the building and after many discussions and long negotiations we got going. The Trust really understood what our vision was and how we could really do something special there, and now that is coming to fruition.”
A rich history
Hutchesons was built in the early 1800s and has been used in the past as a public library, a bank, a school and shops, but has been lying empty for the last five years after suffering extensive water damage from storms in 2008.
Rusk hopes that the new Hutchesons will allow the public to experience the building’s history in a relaxed, social setting.
He said: “The building is steeped in nostalgia with a feeling of time standing still. I had an overwhelming urge to clean down the cobwebs, pull off the dust sheets and invite Glasgow round for dinner to feel the energy of this incredible space. “
Rusk and his team have been working on the venture for nearly two years now with involvement from Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland. The building’s electrics have been changed and new plumbing systems and kitchens have been added, alongside a glass elevator.
Rusk said: “It’s been a really long process with so many people involved. We had to be sympathetic to the building while at the same time staying true to our vision. There were regulations to adhere to but at the same time we needed to make it aesthetically pleasing.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done anything else in my life that’s been quite so absorbing. It’s been challenging and at times I wanted to pull my hair out, but I’ve enjoyed it. It has been an amazing opportunity.”
Style and standards
The building has been put together to reflect a traditional European style, with grand staircases and black and white marble floors alongside hardwood ones. All of the furniture is loose and bespoke, while the food that will be served is also based on classic traditions with international flavours.
Rusk said: “Our policy is based on taking classical traditions and bringing new energy to them.”
The opening of the restaurant will bring 50 new jobs to the city centre, and Rusk is passionate about training his staff to a high standard.
He said: “We put a lot of energy and focus into our staff and how they are trained. That allows us to give great service and great food in a great environment, which is what we’re all about.”
Hutchesons is located at 158 Ingram Street in Glasgow and will be opening in late spring.