St Helier bounces back with a continental feel

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NEW hospitality venues – and the return of an old favourite – demonstrate confidence in St Helier bouncing back from the ravages of the pandemic, industry leaders have said.

This week saw the opening of Brasserie Colmar on the site of the former Beghins store in King Street, soon to be joined by an adjoining pavement café and the return of nearby venue Pizzeria Romana, three years after the Charing Cross site was ravaged by fire.

Simon Soar, head of hospitality and tourism at Jersey Business, said the changing landscape of the town centre was ‘a real positive for the Island and the [hospitality] industry’.

He said: ‘Seeing this sort of investment after what we have been through is very encouraging, and would not be happening unless those involved genuinely thought that it was a worthwhile investment.

‘Projects like this in the town centre give the town centre a beautiful continental feel and I believe that’s the way we should be heading – developing an immersive feel between retail and hospitality that’ll benefit both locals and tourists.’

The Colmar opening, set to be joined by the adjacent Café Colmar – formerly La Petite Baguette – in the coming weeks, and Pizzeria Romana reopening its doors on Saturday or Monday, were also welcomed by town centre manager Connor Burgher.

David Voisin outside Colmar Picture: ROB CURRIE. (33561578)

He said: ‘It’s confirmation of the changing face of St Helier town centre and I think it’s excellent, especially with an al fresco area on King Street, and should benefit surrounding venues as people enjoy a meal before or after shopping.’

As well as helping to encourage Islanders into St Helier, Mr Burgher said he believed the mix of shops and hospitality venues would benefit those living in St Helier, with further residential plans for the nearby site being developed by Le Masurier.

‘Developments like this will help make this part of town more attractive and the parish would support anything that’s going to add value to St Helier,’ he said.

Mr Burgher said he had happy memories from childhood of trips to Pizzeria Romana and was pleased to see it reopen.

‘It seems like it’s been closed forever and it’s been really difficult for them after the fire, so I’m delighted they’re back,’ he added.

Although the continued closure of Broad Street to traffic has proved contentious, with complaints from some about over-running roadworks and unattractive street furniture, the road has been used in recent weeks, playing host to the High Tea on the High Street event for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and for the Norman Market.

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