Restaurant plan for former Little Chef in Morcott

Work is underway to convert the former Little Chef in Morcott into the Country Lounge Cafe Bar. EMN-150428-110901001

Work is underway to convert the former Little Chef in Morcott into the Country Lounge Cafe Bar. EMN-150428-110901001

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A former Little Chef restaurant will be turned into a cafe, bistro and shop, providing evening entertainment and food.

Alan and Julia Freeman are refurbishing the building off the A47 in Morcott and hope to open the new venture by the end of June.

It will be run by their son Bradley Freeman and will be called the Country Lounge Coffee Bar.

Alan, who owns The Royal Oak in Duddington, said he hoped to bring new life to a building that had lain empty for three years.

He added: “We want to reopen as a traditional cafe. It will be more like a bistro in the evenings.

“We are totally refurbishing it. We will have a patio outside. We’re also going to have a small bric-a-brac shop inside. People can come and buy small ornaments and traditional furniture.”

The Little Chef in Morcott closed in September 2012. It was one of 67 failing restaurants to shut nationwide. Six full-time staff were told they would be offered jobs at other restaurants.

The building has been marketed as a potential site for a new restaurant since then.

Mr Freeman hopes the Country Lounge Coffee Bar will attract customers through good food and great views of the Rutland countryside. The family is also considering evening entertainment, including jazz nights.

Planning consent for the refurbishment is not needed, but the family does need a licence to serve alcohol. Should their application be approved by Rutland County Council, they hope to be open for business by the end of June.

Mr Freeman leased The Royal Oak in Duddington to Ann Fisher and John Wheeler in September 2013 and they have been running it since then.