New Waterfront diner brings dozens of new jobs

Steve Haslam, of regional company TLC Inns, who is openign the company's fourth Grand Central Americ

Steve Haslam, of regional company TLC Inns, who is openign the company's fourth Grand Central American Barn and Grill in a few weeks time. The Grand Central, Ipswich has been created by the company in the former Quayside restaurant and the adjoining commercial unit, which had been empty. - Credit: Archant

It is full steam ahead for the Grand Central diner

It is full steam ahead for the new Grand Central American Bar & Grill at Ipswich Waterfront.

The American-themed diner, being developed by regional pub and bar company TLC Inns, is aiming for a public opening soon after Easter.

TLC Inns is a family business, run by husband and wife Steve and Jo Haslam, and Steve was on site supervising the massive building project when I dropped in.

TLC Inns bought the former Quayside Restaurant and the neighbouring, empty, commercial unit last year and have spent months creating the new themed restaurant.

Steve Haslam said: “We are really excited to be opening in Ipswich.

“We have had a lot of interest from local people, in what we are doing. Now we are on track to be open to the public, just after Easter.

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“This is our eighth business and our fourth Grand Central diner.

“We started with the first Grand Central at Basildon three years ago. Then came Ely, Cambridgeshire about a year ago.

“Colchester then followed in November last year.

“Ipswich will be our biggest and the biggest investment to date. We are sure it is going to be the best - we are bringing something different to Ipswich and we think people will enjoy the American theme.”

Over the past 20 weeks a wide range of tradespeople have been on site, ripping out the Quayside fixtures and then fitting out the two, combined commercial units with bar and restaurant dining areas over two floors, and a mezannine.

“We have done everything,” he said. “We started with everything re-plumbed and re-wired.

“We have state-of-the-art kitchens and food preparataion areas, bars and £80,000 worth of heating and air conditioning installed, to ensure we give people clean air.

“We have some of the best kitchen equipment that money can buy. The head chef is going to be very happy.”

Most of the equipment is now in place, with new carpets and floors still covered until the final stages of fit-out are completed.

So it is still under wraps.

Steve added: “We are really pleased to be part of the Ipswich business community.

“We are not another national chain.

“We will aim to always provide fresh cooked food. It might take longer to the table but we think it is worth it. We will have a great range of beers and bottled beers,and our cocktail range is absolutley fabulous.

“We think the Ipswich people will like what we have to offer.”

“We start staff training - with 60 people - on Monday.

“We will probably open with 50 staff - and have eight to 10 chefs,” he added.

Grand Central diner is close to the Old Custom House.

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