The new boss of Rueters Bar & Grill in Southport is aiming for the sweet smell of success when it opens.
Professional chef Matthew Howard is celebrating taking over the reins at the popular restaurant, bar and function venue on Hoghton Street in Southport town centre as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
He is already busy making changes to the venue, ahead of it opening fully this May.
He has been running The Shrimper pub in Marshside, as well as helping to operate My Sweet Retreat, a family-run business which creates delicious cakes for all occasions.
He has been running the My Sweet Retreat business with his Mum Linda Howard and plans to bring the best of what they create there into Rueters.
As refurbishment works take place, he is looking forward to installing a brand new dessert fridge to tempt diners. The venue has been repainted, new light fittings have arrived and the bar area has been revamped.
People will soon be able to call in for a coffee and a cake, with a choice of goodies including home-made chocolate brownies and home-made cakes.
Matthew is also revamping the Rueters menu, maintaining popular favourites while also introducing some new creations.
He said: “I am delighted to have taken over Rueters. We will be opening in May when we are able to open inside.
“In the meantime we are doing some deep-cleaning, decorating and maintenance. We have new light fittings and have been busy painting and giving the bar a revamp!
“We’ll be doing home cooked meals, desserts from my other business My Sweet Retreat and will still have a good range of cocktails on the menu.
“As much as I can, I love to source the best local produce, and serve customers good quality home cooked food. I am a big fan of ‘shop local’ and local businesses supporting each other.
“I am a chef by trade and I do all my own food, which is great for us. I will be splitting my time between cheffing and being front of house.
“We are keeping a lot of the tapas style food, small plates, plus restaurant type main courses with food from our new grill that we’re putting in. People will be able to enjoy steaks, grilled fish, with plenty of vegetarian options.
“Once we are allowed to, we will be doing live music at the weekends and karaoke on Sunday nights.
“We are looking forward to welcoming back functions soon. We have already got two wedding functions confirmed for June and August, and we have just had three new enquiries for functions this week.
“We will also be participating in the first Southport Whiskey Festival on Saturday 31st July.
“We have a new Rueters Bar & Grill Facebook page and a Rueters Instagram page if people would like to follow us. We’re doing regular posts showing some sneak peaks of the progress. We’ll be giving away some freebies in the lead up to opening too.”
Matthew is hoping for a better year ahead in 2021.
He took over The Shrimper 10 days before lockdown last year, and faced a year of lockdowns and restrictions since.
Life now is looking much better. Covid vases in Southport and across the UK have fallen rapidly, while over 40 million Coronavirus vaccinations have been administered in the UK.
The opportunity to take over Rueters was a welcome one.
Matthew said: “Rueters has always been a nice place to come to. My Mum worked at Specsavers and always enjoyed coming to Rueters for works nights out.
“I can’t wait to open!
“When I was at The Shrimper, even when we were in Tier 2 last year, there were rules such as not being allowed to serve people alcohol without a substantial meal, so it was difficult. We have been closed there since October.
“But I am very optimistic about this one. I genuinely don’t think we will go into full lockdown again.
“This is going to be a good year for everyone. We have got all the belated birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, and other celebrations to come soon. A friend of mine turned 30 last year during lockdown but is adamant he is still 29 until he can get back out and celebrate it!
“It is just great being able to be back in work. I am used to being in catering, working 70 hours a week. To go from that to being in lockdown has been soul destroying. I can’t wait to be back open again.
“I am finally booked in for a haircut at the Master Barbers on Lord Street, and I am sure everyone is looking forward to getting back out there again.”
- Rueters Bar and Grill is at 26 Hoghton Street, Southport town centre, PR9 0PA. For more details visit: ruetersbar.co.uk or email email@example.com or call 01704 264364.