oldsmokehouse_ft

Smokehouse restaurant coming to West End Lane

160 degrees Fahrenheit is the name of a new smokehouse bar/restaurant opening soon in West Hampstead. David Moore, who owns Michelin-starred Pied à Terre and L’Autre Pied, is taking the Me Love Sushi site.

17th century diagram of a smokehouse. Suspect ours will be very similiar.

17th century diagram of a smokehouse. Suspect ours will be very similiar

The site is owned by Tragus, which operates brands including Strada and Café Rouge. The rent was advertised at £80,000 a year, which many local business owners considered to be too high for the 80 seater restaurant. Moore’s strong track record, however, suggests that he’s spotted an opportunity despite the high rent.

Sean Martin will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the bar/restaurant. He’s already revamped the Northumberland Arms in Fitzrovia and Marylebone’s Barley Mow. He told Big Hospitality that “smokehouses have gained a cult following in the US and I believe we can open a smokehouse and bar in London that will inspire the same devotion.”

The restaurant will serve British meat cooked on American smokers, alongside craft beers and cocktails.

If Moore and Martin can get the pricing right (avoiding the classic mistake of conflating West Hampstead with more affluent Hampstead), then it is likely to do well. Recent history suggests that restuarants with a unique offering in the area can flourish, while copy-cat tactics are generally doomed. The only place locally that offers a smoker is the Priory Tavern, but I doubt either would see the other as competition.

The reaction on Twitter was generally positive.

Here are the particulars for the property

(if you can’t see this, you need a PDF plugin for your browser – or click here to download)

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  • EK

    Jonathan – saw this article in the Ham & High in which you say this smokehouse venture ‘feels like a gamble’. Sounds a bit negative particularly for someone who is a committee member of the West Hampstead Business Association. Can you pls explain your reasoning?

    http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/michelin_star_restaurateurs_set_their_sights_on_west_hampstead_as_the_next_marylebone_high_street_1_3235348

    • Happy to. The WHBA obviously welcomes and supports new businesses in the area, but is also realistic about West Hampstead. The area is growing fast, and there are opportunities for the right businesses. However, any brand new venture always has an element of risk about it – and for restaurateurs with such a pedigree to move into an area that doesn’t have a track record at that level of dining would strike me as a gamble. Some gambles have long odds, some short odds. I’m sure they’ve done their calculations and believe this to be a short-odds gamble.

      Restaurant failure rates are higher than those of many other sectors, so I would argue that any restaurant opening is a gamble. I don’t see this as a negative comment, just one that is an honest assessment.

      In addition, you take that one phrase out of context, but the rest of what I was quoted as saying is, i would suggest, very positive. I said the move demonstrated the area was no longer “up and coming” but had arrived. I also called it a “refreshing move” and that it “could be welcomed by residents”, I went on to say that “the fact it’s not a chain is a bonus” before concluding that “if it’s successful it really could be the spark for more high-end businesses arriving” So, I don’t think that the tone overall of my comments was negative.

      I would be grateful if you would do me the same courtesy of transparency and let me know who you are and what your interest is in West Hampstead?

      • EM

        A bit defensive eh? Just think it’s obvious to say that it’s a gamble because a startup business may fail. So your words can be interpreted as there’s something in particular about west Hampstead which makes it a gamble. You know more than anyone that it matters the way in which something is characterised publicly. Something to think about for next time…

        Signed,
        A West Hampstead homeowner

      • Not defensive in the slightest. I was asked a question and I replied honestly. There is something about West Hampstead that makes it a gamble – I explained that in my last comment; this is an area that doesn’t have a history of that level of high-end restaurants. Being in the vanguard of change is of course something of a gamble. Suggesting otherwise would be naive. Not sure what else you’re trying to infer – according to your logic, I’m either being negative or stating the obvious, so seems like I’m in a no-win situation.

      • EM

        Let’s agree to disagree.

        West Hampstead clearly has a lot going for it including a young affluent population which is only going to materially increase over the next few years as waitrose, marks and spencer and a successful restauranteur all recognise – so it doesn’t make much sense to judge the future on the past unless you know better than they do??!!