North Shields
Gordon Foster, Di Veitch, Andrew Wilkinson and Gareth Cruci.
Rebecca Wayman

A new £650k dining venture is coming to North Shields' Smith's Dock with leading local chef

A new restaurant headed up by one of the region’s well-known chefs is to open its doors at a new multi-million pound waterside development taking shape on the River Tyne.

The £650k venture will create up to 15 jobs and open in mid-June. Andrew Wilkinson is to take the reins at 31 The Quay, the first business to move into the new Smith’s Dock housing and leisure regeneration-led development underway in North Shields.

The restaurant is set to have 80 covers. It is the brainchild of long-time friends turned business partners Di Veitch, Gareth Cruci and Gordon Foster.

Having Andrew on board as executive chef and securing a riverside location were prerequisites for the trio - who run their own non-food businesses - deciding to pool their knowledge and resources to go full steam ahead and open the restaurant.

Di, who lives in Tynemouth, said: “The restaurant industry has sadly, in my own experience, been exemplified by long hours, low wages, a lack of training, disrespect towards creditors and customers, and a shortage of imagination in terms of food.

“We want 31 The Quay to be the complete opposite of that. We believe that having a social conscience can be applied to running a restaurant.

“We want to improve conditions, develop skills and training, take on apprentices who are paid a decent wage, and to focus on employment for locals. This is only one small step in one small place, but it has to start somewhere.”

Andrew Wilkinson, former North East Chef of the Year, outside what will be the new 31 The Quay site.

Andrew is being given free rein to develop 31 The Quay.

The father of four added: “I want to create somewhere that couples will feel comfortable going, but where families will feel equally at home taking their kids; the sort of place I would feel happy going to on my day off.

“Food wise, it is going to be all about the ingredients; what’s in season, simplicity and locality… And being just a stone’s throw from North Shields Fish Quay, seafood is going to play a part in the menu.

“I can’t think of anything better than sitting down to eat lovingly and expertly cooked food looking out on to the river. The location of 31 The Quay right on the Tyne has played a big part in my coming on board.”

Work has now begun on transforming the 3,713 sq ft space in time for the expected mid-June opening date.

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