Galvin Brothers: Bringing restaurant ethos to pubs

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

Jeff and Chris Galvin are taking their restaurant ethos into pubs
Jeff and Chris Galvin are taking their restaurant ethos into pubs

Related tags: Great british pub, Restaurant, Inn

Chef-restaurateur brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin have set up a pub company which Chris said has been prompted by soaring property prices for restaurants and the need to create opportunities for his staff.

The pair, who run seven restaurants in London and Edinburgh, have acquired the Green Man in Chelmsford, Essex, but are working with Christie & Co to build a portfolio of pubs, which could reach 20.

Chris also told BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Allegra Foodservice​ the company will open two restaurants in Dubai next year.

On the move into pubs, Galvin said: “London is a hotbed at the moment and property prices are going berserk there. A lot of those are trophy sites and I don’t know if people ever make their money back on those sites. We’re not prepared to pay stupid prices if we don’t think the return is there. That leaves us with the challenge of having a great group of people working for us who need opportunities. The pubs will offer us a chance to do that.”

He said the Green Man would be 'a great British pub, not a gastro pub'.

He said: “We will have the restaurant but we will also have a communal area with the feel of a classic pub – the dartboard and the cricket trophies. We want it to be for the community.

“I’m really excited about the possibilities with craft beer. I’ve spent such a lot of my life involved in wine and it’s been great to get involved with the craft beer scene and found out about all these great independent breweries that are out there – loads of them in Essex.”

Pub classics

He said the menu would focus on pub classics but with a twist.

He said: “I have been eating in a lot of pubs recently and it’s no wonder they are closing. A lot of them don’t deserve customers’ business. There’s a lot of cheap rubbish and cold vegetables and tough meat.

“We are not setting out to totally transform the pub classics but we do think they can be improved.”

He said the price point would be kept “at the mid-range” and insisted “we’re not chasing any accolades here, we just want to run a great pub with great food”.

On the scale of ambitions, Galvin said: “The important thing is that each site is done to the best of our ability. We want each one to almost be an institution. 

“We will work bloody hard and bring our ethos and all our standards. The way we run our first pub will be no different to how we run our operation in Harrods. We have one of the best training cultures in the restaurant business and that will follow through to the pubs.

“In five years I don’t know if we’ll have one or ten pubs. I would like to get to 20 but it depends on the quality of each one.”

Galvin said the company had also secured two sites in the City Walk 2 development in Dubai, to open early next year.

He said: “We have been looking at Dubai for a long time and this area is really interesting.

“They are trying to reshape Dubai and bring much more natural materials back in and come down from that high-rise and recreate residential areas and creating parks.

“The first site will be a new Demoiselle café – an extension of what we do in Harrods. There won’t be any alcohol but it will have its own bakery and patisserie so there will be a take-out element.

“The other restaurant, which we don’t have a name for yet, will be more of a fun dining experience. We will have more of a club atmosphere upstairs, so it’s quite a shift for us. The cuisine will be similar to La Chapelle but it’s a very cool building opposite the Ritz in City Walk 2. “

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