Bourgee steak and lobster group to expand to Chelmsford and beyond

By Hannah Thompson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bourgee directors Mark Baumann and James Welling
Bourgee directors Mark Baumann and James Welling
Bourgee, the steak and lobster restaurant in Southend-on-Sea, is set to expand significantly, with a new site in Chelmsford and plans for Suffolk and Norwich in 2017.

The 120-cover Chelmsford venue in the city’s newly-created ‘restaurant quarter’ is set to open on 1 October at 4-5 Echange Way. It will aim to offer what the group calls good quality produce and a high-end atmosphere, ‘without the over-inflated price tags’.

First launched in 2014 by Mark Baumann and James Welling, who invested over £1m in the venture, Bourgee was said to have received initial criticism from sceptics who reportedly doubted the demand for the concept in Southend.

However, directors Baumann and Welling have since called the original site an “overwhelming success”.

According to the duo, the group sought to offer good-quality steak outside of the larger cities, including sourcing quality meat, cutting it with German-imported graphite blades to avoid tearing the meat, and using cooking techniques and equipment such as the Josper Grill to create flavour.

Expansion plans

After Chelmsford, the group has already secured sites in Bury St Edmonds in Suffolk, and in Norwich, as part of its plans to expand across East Anglia into 2017.

Welling said: “Having seen the consumer demand first hand in Southend, we are eager to continue challenging what Essex has come to expect from their restaurant choices, showing customers that they can have the quality dining experiences they have come to know and love from nearby London, without the need for travel or a high credit card limit.

“Chelmsford was a natural choice for our second site. Since receiving city status, we have felt a distinct shift in residents’ attitudes - they actively want Chelmsford to become a buzzing central hub.”

Baumann said: “Bourgee offers a premium dining experience that is accessible to all. We source produce from prestigious suppliers, all served in a modern, cutting edge-designed venue with superb service.

“Sure, in the larger cities there are a few good steak offerings, but for the majority of us in the [rest of the] UK, we have to put up with poor quality. We are on a quest to change that. We want everyone to experience the best without having to pay the earth for it.”

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