New eaterie opens in listed Stevenage building, and another is planned

Left to right: Portuguese chef Antonio Gomez, owners Marie-Claire and Paul Clinton and co-owner Stac

Left to right: Portuguese chef Antonio Gomez, owners Marie-Claire and Paul Clinton and co-owner Stacey Higgs. - Credit: Archant

The eating out on offer in Stevenage Old Town is expanding, with one new restaurant now open for business and another in the pipeline.

On The Green, which overlooks the Bowling Green in the High Street, opens its doors to the public for the first time tonight.

The business is owned by Paul and Marie-Claire Clinton and Stacey Higgs who had a fight on their hands to open the restaurant after objections from Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and some neighbours.

Speaking to the Comet, Marie-Claire said: “It is very exciting to be able to finally open. We did some trial runs over the weekend with friends and family and the feedback we have had has been really good.

“We had to turn people away on Saturday and we ran out of three mains so hopefully that will bode well for the future.”

The restaurant offers modern British cuisine and, where possible, tries to source everything locally.

Marie-Claire has worked in the restaurant trade from the age of 13 and decided to open her own restaurant after finding a lack of variety in the town.

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“It was a constant frustration that our choices of places to eat out were quite limited,” she said.

“We found ourselves trekking into London to eat and wondering why there wasn’t anything like that available in Stevenage, given the availability of good quality produce locally.”

The couple then decided to go it alone and, after discovering that 11 High Street was empty, applied for planning permission to turn the Grade II-listed building, formerly a private home, into a restaurant in February last year.

Marie-Claire is optimistic about the future and is urging people try the cafe’s signature Portuguese tarts handmade by chef Antonio Gomez.

A decision on an application to turn a retail shop further down the High Street into a café is currently being considered by Stevenage Borough Council.

The Grade II-listed building at 112 High Street has been empty since dance and party supplier Angles at Stagedoor moved to Middle Row in February last year.

If approved, the front of the shop would remain unchanged and the only thing that would be removed would be an unlisted storage structure attached to the building.

Planner Andy MacDougall said in the application that turning the shop into a small café would have benefits for visitors and other businesses in Stevenage’s High Street.

He added: “Put back into use, the building will materially improve the locality, which should carry significant weight.”

The application has received one objection from a neighbour who claims the café would affect her privacy, the amount of light she receives and would be too noisy.

To find out more about On The Green visit www.onthegreenrestaurant.co.uk.

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