Belfast Telegraph

Jobs boost for Holywood as tycoon's fourth restaurant set to open

By Lesley Houston

A new restaurant has opened in Holywood in Co Down, the latest in an ever-expanding business empire.

Twelve jobs – most of them full-time – have been created at Anchorage seafood restaurant, the fourth venture for Donaghadee man Paul Savage.

At just 29, Mr Savage is part of the group which owns the 4th Wall in Belfast and is one of two directors of the St Anne's Square eatery.

It is owned and managed by Fork and Cork, a limited company which comes under the Gigglewater Group, which designs restaurants and bars throughout Belfast.

The newest venture in Holywood occupies premises formerly housing Enigma and before that, Sullivan's at Sullivan Place, and has been overhauled in a refit which cost £50,000.

The businessman's first dip into the hospitality industry came with the opening of The 4th Wall, followed by a sole venture, Gracie's Bistro on Belfast's Woodstock Road.

And by September, Mr Savage's fourth operation, Johnson's Avenue, is expected to open at Botanic Avenue, in the premises formerly occupied by AM:PM.

Mr Savage said he doesn't intend to stop at four restaurants.

"The overall business plan is to open one a year.

"The restaurants really pay for themselves after about seven or eight months," he said.

Mr Savage previously worked in flooring, running a commercial company which kitted out cruiseliners.

Following the economic downturn and its effect on the industry he said he was inspired to add a new string to his bow.

Mr Savage said that he decided to go into the restaurant industry following his honeymoon to Vienna.

His experience of dining in the Austrian city and throughout Europe fired an ambition to "replicate their level of hospitality" here in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph restaurant critic Joris Minne said he attended one of Anchorage's soft opening nights – when it first opened the doors to friends and family last Friday and Saturday night.

"I had the razor clams and I haven't seen them on a menu for years so I got those and they were very good," he said, describing it as having a "modern, bistro-style" ambience.

Holywood has seen other new pubs and restaurant openings in the last few months, including a Little Wing pizzeria, run by the Beannchor Group, which also owns the Merchant Hotel.

And Martin Wolsey – brother of Beannchor boss Bill Wolsey – recently opened Johnny the Jig in the town, in former nightspot Wine & Co, following its purchase from Wine Inns.

The new venue is named after a statue in a nearby playground by illustrator Rosamond Praeger of a boy playing an accordion.

Belfast Telegraph