Popular Chippenham brasserie is on the move

This Is Wiltshire: Steve Smith and Chris Bonsor outside the Little George, Chippenham Steve Smith and Chris Bonsor outside the Little George, Chippenham

Highly-rated Chippenham restaurant the Bridge Brasserie will double in size when it moves into the Little George Pub this spring.

The restaurant and bar in New Road will shut on March 23, in preparation for the move.

The Bridge Brasserie, which now seats 30, will cater for more than 60 in its much larger premises around the corner.

It plans to open at 8 New Road in mid-April, after the pub called time there this week.

Chris Bonsor and Steve Smith, who run the Brasserie, are renting the downstairs area of the listed building from new owner Richard Tanner, who hopes to turn the two floors upstairs into flats.

Mr Tanner, who lives in Yatton Keynell, has taken on the restoration of the Edwardian property as a personal project. He said he drove past it every day and it made him sad to see it looking unloved.

“It’s been tortured. It’s in a very poor state,” he said. “Every time I drive past it, I think what a shame it is to see it lying unused and dilapidated.

“I just wanted to transform it from an eyesore into something that is more used.

“I’m happy it will give Chris and Steve the prominence they need.”

The business partners intend to keep a similar vibe and a la carte menu at their new location. They said they would also add finger food and platters to share, as the greater space would allow the bar to run independently from the restaurant. There would be sofas for those just wanting to have a drink.

“It’s a progression, not a new business,” said Mr Bonsor.

“We’re still aiming at those 25 and over, young professionals who want a quiet, restrained drink. There won’t be loud music blaring.”

There would also be fresh produce on sale, incorporating ideas from the delicatessen they ran in the second half of last year, next door to the restaurant.

The eaterie is ranked number four of 59 in Chippenham on visitor reviews website Trip Advisor.

Mr Bonsor and Mr Smith, both in their early 30s, said they were keen to take on young apprentices who would work towards gaining a NVQ in hospitality.

They are now starting to overhaul the interior of the pub, including moving the bar off to the side and giving it a fresh lick of purple and lime green paint.

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