New pizza and burger restaurant to open at Ipswich's Cardinal Park
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A rapidly-expanding pizza and burger chain has revealed it plans to open a new restaurant in the former Frankie & Benny's unit in Cardinal Park, Ipswich.
Dough & Co and Burger Amour, fronted by Christopher Sharman, are set to take over the site of the former Italian-American restaurant.
Mr Sharman has said he hopes the restaurant and takeaway can be open from the start of April for collected orders, with a full opening in May when more coronavirus lockdown measures are lifted.
Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group announced last July that its Cardinal Park branch would close permanently amid "enormous, well documented pressures" from the first lockdown.
Mr Sharman founded woodfire pizza chain Dough & Co in Sudbury in 2018 and now has five restaurants across Suffolk and Essex, including in Colchester and Bury St Edmunds.
The Sudbury chain is now set to relocate to a larger venue in the town centre as it has outgrown its original unit.
Entrepreneur and ex-chef Mr Sharman said he jumped at the chance to secure the Cardinal Park property as Ipswich was one of the towns next on his list for expansion.
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After a full refurbishment, the restaurant will only serve Dough & Co diners inside - but will operate a 'ghost kitchen' for Burger Amour customers for collection and delivery.
Mr Sharman said: "We've been negotiating the deal after we saw this unit became available. We've agreed a deal and we're going to be in it next month.
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"We thought that when it came up it would be silly not to go for it.
"We've wanted to move to Ipswich for a little while - Ipswich has always been Colchester's cousin. We've always been well received there."
Restaurants are set to reopen indoors on May 17 as part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
Mr Sharman said his businesses had maintained a steady income over the last year due to offering takeaway food, but said he was missing welcoming eat-in customers.
He added: "The thing we have missed the most has been the social interaction, all the people and the music.
"I've always wanted the company to be quite large. It's all very transparent and we try to do the restaurant service at home.
"We're different from all the other pizza and burger places."