La Sala UK team is aiming to replicate the experience and menu at its flagship Marbella restaurant here in London, and have chosen Essex as the location to do so. The site will be on Chigwell Road in Woodford Green, in what was formerly the White Hart Inn. Access to the London Underground and the M11 is nearby.
BigHospitality talked to the chairman of La Sala UK James Horler about the new restaurant and the group’s plans for future expansion.
For its UK site, La Sala was focusing on finding a location in the Essex area as a great deal of its market and members from Spain live there, and found that now was the perfect time for the move.
Horler told us: “La Sala is very successful in southern Spain and a lot of our customers there come from the Essex area. We have 2700 members of the La Sala club in the Marbella area that have an Essex postcode. So we thought we might as well open one there.
“It’s taken us a long time to find the right site, which we’ve now done and secured the site in Chigwell. We wanted somewhere that was a standalone site, a destination, with residents around us and with good car parking and this ticked all the boxes.”
The site in Chigwell is 5000sq.ft in size and has parking space for 22 cars. The main restaurant and bar will be on the ground floor, with private dining areas in the basement and on the top floor, along with a roof terrace. The restaurant has 140 covers in the main dining areas, with 20 more in the basement and a further 12 on the first floor for private dining.
“We’re doing a lot of work to the site, we’re investing £1.5m into it,” said Horler. “It will be very similar to the restaurants in Spain; we’re trying to create the same ambience. Of course the weather isn’t as good here so in this venue we’re making what we call an ‘outside inside’ area. Rather than it all being outside terraced seating we’ll ensure it’s undercover and heated, so it will be nice on a sunny day, but also when the weather’s a bit worse. “
La Sala UK
La Sala in the UK will have the same menu as works for the group in Spain, a bar and grill menu serving traditional favourites. The group also plan to expand the business further in this country, aiming to open another before the end of the year.
Horler said: “We’ve raised quite a lot of money using the Enterprise Investment Scheme, and our plan is to open another site soon after this one, and then to expand beyond. We want to create a number of La Salas in different areas around the South; we’re looking at south Essex and west London.
“We’d like to open four in the next two years, after we’ve seen how this one goes. It’s a big site with big capital, there’ll be 70 people employed there so it’s a big overhead.”
The first La Sala UK site will be located Chigwell Road in Woodford Green and is planned to open at the end of September.