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Peterborough chef enjoying 'overwhelming' customer response

‘We might have to focus on our outdoor seating for another year’, that’s how one Peterborough chef is adapting to the new ‘normal’, while enjoying an overwhelming response from customers. 
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Chef Damian Wawrzyniak of House of Feasts is enjoying an overwhelming response as lockdown eases (Picture: Damian Wawrzyniak)

Damian Wawrzyniak runs the House of Feasts in Eye on the outskirts of Peterborough. Following the government’s signal to reopen hospitality sector, Damian has arranged outdoor seating in his restaurant garden as well as socially distanced tables indoors.  

He has been getting hundreds of bookings for each day, especially between Monday and Wednesday as customers make the most of the ‘Eat out to Help out scheme’. 

In-fact, Damian and his team have now had to increase their tables to accommodate ever growing reservations. He now has sufficient covers for 200 people between his indoor and outdoor seating arrangements. 

Weather has been on their side too as Peterborough is expected to stay sunny for a few more days. But Damian says he has already started planning for winter. 

“Watch this space for more, there will be no place like this in Peterborough.” he said  

“It has been absolutely great so far. The response has been so positive, people are enjoying coming down here. The staff and customers are both happy with the measures we have put in to maintain social distancing. We had the licensing officer here from the council who was pleased with our guidelines. 

“We do not allow anyone to stand and drink. We have an electronic Track and Trace system here - to avoid customers using the same pens, and we've tried to minimise the contact here as well. So it has been good so far."

 

house of feast 1House of Feasts in Eye, Peterborough is enjoying a successful return post lockdown (Picture: Damian Wawrzyniak)

Talking about the return of customers, Damian said: “We can’t believe how busy we are. On Wednesday we had 160 customers! That's pretty much becoming a regular thing with hundreds of bookings coming through. Even during weekends, the response is positive with customers coming in for breakfast as well from 8 am onwards. We have had to take our table capacity from 120 to 200 now, with 10 new tables in store. 

"So we are really happy with how things are going. This will help us recover the losses we have had for the last six months. 

“We will be focusing on our outdoor seating as that is going to be key for at least another year because I think people although are coming out, are still cautious.  We have also got live music which people are really enjoying."

Damian set up a food cart last month, 'Kiosk', selling Polish quick bites on Bridge Street in Peterborough's city centre.

 

Kiosk in PeterboroughKiosk could not open yesterday in Peterborough, after vandals damaged electrical cables. Photo: John Baker
However, the team couldn’t trade on Thursday, August 6 after electric cables for their kiosk were cut, leaving food damaged. Nevertheless, they say it’s not going to crush their spirits and will return once it’s all fixed later this week.  

Kiosk has a trade contract with Peterborough City Council until March 2021, and Damian hopes to have more of these up and running around the city by then.