RESTAURATEUR Jamie Conlon, left, is the latest in a long line of businesspeople to be taken by surprise by Milton Keynes.
Jamie had intended to enter the UK market in London with the Spanish restaurant concept Lizarran.
Jamie, who has been in the restaurant and catering business for 25 years, said: “The estate agent kept telling me we ought to look in Milton Keynes but I didn’t really take a lot of notice. When we couldn’t find the right location in London we started moving out to the suburbs and into places like Reading, and one day he said we weren’t far from Milton Keynes so ought to take a look.”
Jamie admits he was hugely impressed with the city and The Hub in particular.
“It reminded me of European cities like Barcelona or Madrid with the fountain in the middle of the square and it just had a really good feel to it,” he said.
Lizarran is a chain with more than 200 outlets in Spain renowned for serving pintxos, the Basque version of tapas, and boasting a menu with 300 recipes.
The outlet in The Hub is the first of a planned 40 in the UK.
Jamie has brought in all his staff from existing Lizarran branches in Spain, to explain the tradition to British diners.
He adds that he has had a ‘fantastic reaction’ from people in Milton Keynes and he is ‘so pleased’ to have come to the city.
Jamie adds the moral of the story is to listen to your estate agent “especially if he’s a good one.”