'We've missed you all' - Norwich cafés and restaurants reopen indoors 

Iain McCarten, owner of The Last Bar and Restaurant in St Georges Street.

The Last Bar and Restaurant in Norwich is one of the city businesses that reopened indoors on May 17, pictured is owner Iain McCarten. - Credit: Archant

There was a buzz in the air on Monday in Norwich as many cafés and restaurants reopened for the first time in months as lockdown rules eased. 

Under the latest stage in the government's roadmap out of lockdown, indoor hospitality was able to return from May 17, along with entertainment venues, such as theatres, cinemas and bowling alleys.

To celebrate Norwich's independent businesses reopening, we ran a Summer in the City takeover on the Norwich Evening News Instagram account, giving city firms the chance to shout out about themselves.

Gemma Aubrit-Layfield and Thomas Aubrit from L'Hexagone Bistro Français in Lower Goat Lane, which reopened on May 17.

Gemma Aubrit-Layfield and Thomas Aubrit from L'Hexagone Bistro Français in Lower Goat Lane, which reopened on May 17. - Credit: Archant

This coincides with our new campaign to encourage people to support the city's shops, pubs, restaurants and events this summer and we asked local businesses to share videos and photos with us. 

The reason some cafés and restaurants stayed shut until now was either because they had no outdoor space, so could not reopen on April 12, or their garden was not big enough to make it feasible. 

This includes Frank's Bar in Bedford Street, which had just a small courtyard, and The Waffle House in St Giles Street, with only indoor seating, though both continued to offer takeaways. 

Emily Blakemore, supervisor at The Waffle House in St Giles Street which is back open for diners. 

Emily Blakemore, supervisor at The Waffle House in St Giles Street which is back open for diners. - Credit: Archant

Emily Blakemore, supervisor at The Waffle House, said: "We can't wait to welcome you back, we have a super safe dining experience for you.

"We've missed you all and hopefully we will see you soon."

Other business owners with the luxury of more outdoor space welcomed diners back on April 12, but they are still delighted to be able to increase their capacity by reopening indoors. 

Ella Williams, owner of Frank's Bar in Bedford Street which reopens on Tuesday (May 18) 

Ella Williams, owner of Frank's Bar in Bedford Street which reopens on Tuesday (May 18) - Credit: Archant

Chris Smith, owner of Christophe's Crêpes in Pottergate, said: "We've opened back up and can't wait to let people back in.

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"It has been good doing takeaways, but you can't beat people coming in for a brew and a crêpe."

Chris Smith, owner of Christophe's Crêpes in Pottergate

Chris Smith, owner of Christophe's Crêpes in Pottergate, which reopened outdoors on April 12 and is now back open inside. - Credit: Archant

The latest stage in easing lockdown has also brought another boom in bookings for many city restaurants.

Iain McCarten, owner of The Last Bar and Restaurant in St Georges Street which reopened outdoors in April, said: "We've had amazing support so far this year and the bookings look great for this week."

Speaking about the Summer in the City Instagram takeover, Georgina Taylor, digital reporter for Norwich Evening News, said: "This has been our second Norwich business takeover and it has been a great opportunity to showcase our amazing Norwich businesses."

Our Summer in the City campaign encourages people to make the most of all Norwich has to offer this summer.

Our Summer in the City campaign encourages people to make the most of all Norwich has to offer this summer. - Credit: Archant

Summer in the City is sponsored by Chantry Place and Norwich BID.

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