August saw plenty of excitement as new businesses opened across Hertfordshire, but lots of sadness as beloved stores closed.

Here's seven businesses that opened or closed last month.


1. Oliver Bonas - Hitchin

Opening on September 1, Oliver Bonas is taking over the former Paperchase unit in Hitchin's Bancroft.

The stationery retailer closed 106 stores nationwide back in February, with Hitchin and three other Hertfordshire stores among them, but the homeware and fashion chain looks set to provide a boost to the town's high street.

2. Roy's Restaurant - Welwyn

The family-owned Roy's Restaurant is relocating from London and moving to Welwyn.

Owned by Mark and Alison Jones, Roy's opened in January 2020 and has earned rave reviews, rated 4.8 out of five stars on Google, and 4.5 on TripAdvisor.

The reason behind the restaurant's move to 28 High Street is a sentimental one, as revealed in a post on their Facebook page.

The Comet: Roy's Restaurant is coming to Welwyn.Roy's Restaurant is coming to Welwyn. (Image: Google Maps)

Named after Alison's father, Roy opened a successful restaurant of his own alongside wife Kathy in Winchmore Hill, London. Alison and Mark decided to follow in his footsteps and pay tribute to him.

"Roy and his wife, Kathy, later retired and moved to Welwyn, where they enjoyed their time with family and friends, and were frequent lunchtime guests at Aqua Restuarant, which is more of a reason why we chose the location," read the post.

"Some of the dishes on the menu were great favourites of the family and have been named after them. Try out Roy's Minestrone Soup, or even our tasty Kathy's Tagliatelle."

As for the food, Roy's serves a range of tasty dishes, including pasta, pizza, seafood, steaks, a set lunch menu, specials and a vast selection of drinks.

3. Lazzari's Italian Pizza - Letchworth

Lazzari's Italian Pizza, a collection-only takeaway dishing up a tasty selection of pizzas, opened in Letchworth on August 3.

Set up by Jonathann and Deividas, the co-workers have decided to run the new business alongside their day jobs, with Jonathann telling the Comet: "Pizza is my favourite food, everyone likes it, so we said 'well, why don't we try something like this'? We have the experience, we have the idea, so let's do it."

"Everything will be homemade and fresh, made by hand.

"The ingredients come from Italy - we wanted high quality and high standards. It will be pizza made like it should be."

Based at 56 Maycroft, Lazzari's will be open Thursday to Saturday from 6pm until 10pm.

4. The Prep Lounge - Baldock

The Prep Lounge, a new health food restaurant and shop in Baldock's Whitehorse Street opened on Saturday, August 12.

serving up favourites such as burgers, breakfast wraps and ice cream, but with a twist - all the produce on their menu has been sourced to have low fat content.

Their varied and reasonably-priced menu will include protein shakes and juices, healthy bakes and breakfasts, and a range of options for lunch and dessert.

The Comet: The Prep Lounge in Baldock.The Prep Lounge in Baldock. (Image: The Prep Lounge)

And that isn't all, because their ground floor will be a supplement store offering a variety of products to help customers lead a healthy lifestyle.

The restaurant and shop is the brainchild of Stuart Bayley and Gemma Pateman, with Gemma saying: "So many people in the local area don't have access to support on nutrition and aren't aware of the benefits that can come from it, the way it works, and the correct way of doing things.

"We've also noticed that there aren't many places where you can go to eat that offer healthy food and cater for everybody - families, people into fitness, vegans, those who need gluten-free options and other dietary requirements."

5. Craft and Cleaver - Hitchin

Craft and Cleaver, which currently has a site in St Albans and is a popular spot in the city, is set to take over the Grade II-listed building formerly home to Prezzo in Hitchin's Bancroft.

The unit has stood empty since 2021 when the chain closed the restaurant, but it is now set for a new lease of life, with a planning application submitted by Craft and Cleaver owner Adam Richardson, revealing changes that are set to take place.

The Comet: The unit formerly home to Prezzo has stood vacant since 2021.The unit formerly home to Prezzo has stood vacant since 2021. (Image: Google Maps)

According to plans, "internal refurbishments" will take place, including the removal of a pizza oven, installation of stud partition to create additional food preparation area and barrel store cellar, as well as alterations to bar area.

Craft and Cleaver's menu is an exciting one for meat lovers, with a range of burgers, barbecues and skillets on offer, as well as small plates and a brunch menu.


6. Deroka - Hitchin

Mystery surrounds the future of much-loved Hitchin restaurant Deroka, which appears to have closed down.

Diners reported booking tables at the Mediterranean restaurant in Sun Street earlier this month, only to find it was closed.

The Comet: Deroka's future is uncertain.Deroka's future is uncertain. (Image: Dan Mountney)

And when Comet reporter Dan Mountney headed down it was shut once again, with menus outside removed and blinds pulled down.

No official announcement about the restaurant's future has been made on social media, and despite the Comet's efforts to contact Deroka, it is yet to receive a response.

7. Aqua - Welwyn

Welwyn restaurant closed down earlier this month, and will be replaced by the aforementioned Roy's Restaurant.

In a short statement on their website, the popular dining spot confirmed "Aqua Restaurant has now closed".

The Comet: Aqua in Welwyn has now closed.Aqua in Welwyn has now closed. (Image: Google Maps)

"We are sorry to inform you that Aqua is now permanently closed," read a statement.

"We would like to thank everybody for their support and custom over the years.

"The restaurant will soon be under new ownership and will be reopening shortly, offering similar fantastic service and delicious cuisine."