The owners of the first new venue in the heart of Hull’s Fruit Market say they want to help to make the area a must-visit part of “destination Hull”.
Butler Whites has opened in a converted former fruit and veg warehouse in Humber Street, adding to the exciting regeneration of the waterfront district which is undergoing a £80m transformation into Hull’s first urban village.
The owners have transformed the premises from a bare shell into a high-quality restaurant offering casual, bistro-style dining with a twist and a regularly-changing, experimental menu.
The 3,000 sq ft venue can accommodate up to 120 covers comfortably inside, with seating for up to a further 40 customers outside.
The venture is a labour of love for business partners Chris Eastaugh, Jason Gittins and Dan Robinson who have worked together for the past 10 years, including running the successful Henry Yeast bistro and bar in Hull’s Newland Avenue.
Mr Eastaugh said: “We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved. It’s like a dream come true and we feel blessed to be here.
“The hospitality scene in Hull has always been created by people from Hull. Now we are seeing high-quality restaurateurs from places like Leeds and York coming in and looking around the Fruit Market. They are buying into the positive vibe and want to be part of it.
“Other things are changing too. Many people from the Hull area choose to go to Leeds or York for the day, to enjoy the shopping, restaurants and other attractions, but the trains and roads go this way too.
“Why shouldn’t Hull be a destination? As the regeneration takes off, we can see people in Leeds and York saying ‘let’s spend the day in Hull’ and they will come to the Fruit Market. We have a beautiful marina and waterfront, culture, history, heritage and character.
“The area already has a community that is growing all the time, with so much investment and the City of Culture year just months away. The potential of the Fruit Market is limitless. It will be the cultural heartbeat of Hull and the jewel in the city’s crown – a place that everybody can enjoy.”
Butler Whites is named after two fruit and veg businesses previously based in Humber Street and the owners said they feel privileged to be part of a new era for the area.
Mr Robinson said: “We first started looking at the Fruit Market about four years ago when it was dormant, but we could see the potential. Now we’re so proud to be part of the Fruit Market story.
“I’ve never had a business before where so many people look through the windows to see what’s happening. We can sense people are really excited by what is happening here and so are we. Every day we see the Fruit Market evolve.”
Mr Gittins agreed: “We’re all Hull born and bred and proud of the city. Over recent years we’ve seen a dramatic change and now it’s great to be forerunners for this area.
“We’ve very proud of the Fruit Market and what it is becoming. It has so many opportunities and great premises. There is an opportunity to create a fantastic environment for people to live, work and socialise and to take Hull to another level.”
Butler Whites opened as a trial run for the recent Humber Street Sesh, which draws tens of thousands of people into the Fruit Market for a one-day “festival for the people, by the people”.
Mr Robinson added: “It was the first time we had opened the doors to the masses and there was a great, friendly vibe and a lovely mixed audience.
“People were really excited to see what was happening in the Fruit Market. They were saying ‘this is really happening now’ and they loved how we had embraced the heritage of the building and brought it back to life.”
The exciting rejuvenation of the Hull’s cultural and creative quarter is being driven forward by the joint venture company Wykeland Beal formed by regeneration leader Wykeland Group and residential developer Beal Homes, in partnership with Hull City Council. The development partners’ vision is for the Fruit Market to be “a unique, vibrant, cultural quarter where people live, work and play”.
David Donkin, Property Director of Hull-based Wykeland, said: “The owners of Butler Whites have done a great job in creating a high-quality environment and experience to be enjoyed by local diners and visitors to the city alike.
“They have embraced the unique heritage and character of the area and are passionate pioneers for the vision for the Fruit Market.
“We’ve had tremendous demand for the first units available for retail, leisure and cultural uses and are in discussions with several interested parties who have exciting plans to add to the ever-growing vibrancy of this new urban village.”
The rejuvenation of the Fruit Market includes new and refurbished commercial, retail and leisure space centred on Humber Street, all fully consented. The commercial units are complemented by more than 100 new mews-style homes around private courtyards, subject to planning permission.
A limited number of commercial units are now available to let, with occupation by autumn 2016, with further releases in 2017.
Butler Whites’ mouth-watering menu includes starter options such as fresh mussels cooked with seaweed and cider salami, followed by main course choices such as salt mint crust baked lamb shank and chargrilled octopus, as well as vegetarian options such as blowtorched artichoke with sliced pear and goat’s cheese. Also on offer are Butler’s Baked Doughs, the restaurant’s unconventional pizza offerings.
The bar serves cocktails, wines and mixers as well as craft beers and real ales, with a bar area where drinkers can enjoy grazer meals.
Butler Whites is now open from Wednesday to Sunday lunchtime and evenings. Bookings can be made by calling 01482 493557.
Owners, from left, Jason Gittins, Dan Robinson and Chris Eastaugh say creating Butler Whites has been a labour of love.