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HLN Meets… Georgia Hadwin, NE1

We find out why Newcastle Restaurant Week is so important for our local community. Plus, NE1 Marketing and Events Executive Georgia reveals a very tempting secret about the event...

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 19.01.2022

It’s official, our favourite time of the year is back – NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week 2022 is here until Sunday 23rd January.

After tough two years, and after the event was cancelled for the first time ever, it’s now the perfect time to try something new, all while helping our local hospitality recover from the effects of the pandemic.

That’s why we caught up with NE1 Marketing and Events Executive Georgia Hadwin to find out why the event is more important than ever this year for our community. Plus, she reveals that we can eat out every night for just £70 – don’t tempt us food-lovers too much, Georgia!

Planning on getting involved but not sure where to go? Check out HLN’s favourite Restaurant Week menus from the 85 restaurants that are involved.

Why is Restaurant Week important for our local community?

NE1’s Restaurant Week is so important because it works to shine a spotlight on the hospitality and leisure sector. They’ve had a really testing two years, so it’s wonderful to see how people are eager to get back out, get back into the city centre, enjoy the space and of course, spend some money as well.

The event doesn’t only generate positive economic impact for the hospitality industry alone; the benefits trickle down to support transport, hotels, retail and personal care providers too, aiding a wide range of sectors.

With the pandemic hitting the hospitality industry hard, how will Newcastle Restaurant Week help to support them?

Restaurant Week is more important now than ever before. Business owners and staff have worked tirelessly to navigate through a barrage of changing rules, restrictions, and lockdowns, and have always remained positive throughout. These restrictions have had a huge impact on the industry and, at times, I think the future looked pretty bleak for them, but in true Geordie spirit, they stuck together as a community and pulled through.

We’re lucky that Newcastle was quick to bounce back from lockdowns and people actually returned to Newcastle City Centre quicker than many other places. Restaurant Week is the kind of event that massively contributes to city-centre footfall. It’s an excellent way for people to support the businesses they know and love and also those they haven’t checked out before!

How does it feel to be back after the event has been cancelled over the past two years due to covid?

It’s absolutely amazing to be back. It’s been a crazy two years where we’ve almost at times thought: oh, we’ll be able to do this and this, and then it’s fallen through, but that’s just the nature of the environment we’ve all been in. So now it’s fantastic to be back.

There’s been a real hunger for the event – pardon the pun ­­­– from the general public. We’ve had such a fantastic response. We’ve had over 1 million visits to the website and we’ve got over 85 restaurants that are involved, from our OGs all the way through to loads of exciting newcomers that were absolutely delighted to have on board.

 

 

What do you want more people to know about Restaurant Week?

I’d say it’s the absolute diversity we have as a city. We’ve got one of the most thriving independent scenes for food. You can eat ‘around the world’ in your city centre. It’s such an opportunity to try out somewhere new without breaking the bank. You can challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone with food; I can sometimes be the person who orders my favourite dish on the menu everywhere I go. It’s a really great way to explore new cuisines and venues that may not always be your first choice.

I figured out the other day that you can eat out every day and, if you’re clever with it– you could dine out for the whole seven days for just £70! That’s cheaper than my weekly shop and there’s no dishes to worry about!

Where will you be booking this Restaurant Week?

That’s an impossible question because I’m so close to it; I know all the venues’ menus off by heart. I’m already booked in for one of my favourite restaurants, Route. Gino’s is a newcomer this year, so I’ll definitely be checking them out. And also Cafe Andaluz on Grey Street. I’ve also gone for a classic Fat Hippo to get a tasty, juicy burger because you just can’t beat it!

 

 

Many people might feel nervous about going back to the town centre with the recent rise in Covid cases again. What measures are you putting in place to ensure people are safe?

This is something we’ve lived with now for two years. The hospitality sector in Newcastle have worked so hard to navigate their way through two years of COVID measures and they are extremely well-versed in how to operate safely.

Customer safety, as well as the safety of their precious staff is of the absolute utmost importance to them. So, there are plenty of measures in place and if anyone needs any more information, they can contact the restaurants directly – they’ll be more than happy to help put their minds at rest.

What future events have NE1 got in the pipeline at the moment?

We’re super busy with Restaurant Week at the moment. It takes loads of time, but it’s so fun and rewarding. We’re obviously delighted that it’s returning this year for its 20th year, which is terrific. As things being equal, we’ll see the event return in August as well, so be sure to get in the diary!

2022 promises to be a really busy year for city events. We’ve got the Rugby World Cup being hosted at St James’ Park and Magic Weekend too. Northern Pride is hosting UK Pride in Newcastle this year, which will be in the summer and we can’t wait for that one. And, obviously, we’ve got the Great North Run to prepare for too! There’s never a quiet time in Newcastle, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

To check out all the venues taking part, visit the NE1 Restaurant Week website.

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