Bristol restaurants we have loved and lost in 2022 including Vincenzos and Lockside

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From iconic restaurants open for 52 years to new businesses only a few months old, there have been several hospitality casualties in 2022

The past 12 months have decimated the Bristol hospitality industry, with several high profile restaurant and cafe closures.

Escalating energy bills and food costs, twinned with the fact many customers simply don’t have the disposable cash to eat out as often as before, means that many local businesses are facing challenging times.

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During 2022, several well known and popular restaurants and cafes closed their doors for good. The longest-running of the lot was Vincenzo’s on Park Street, which served its last meal on Christmas Eve after 52 years.

Opened in 1970 by Vincenzo and Teresa Ricci, it had been run in recent years by their children Isabella, Giuseppe and Rafaele, but the iconic site is now being demolished turned into student flats despite a lengthy and expensive battle with the developers.

Posting on social media this week after closing the doors of the restaurant they called home for half a century, the Ricci family said it was a ‘temporary goodbye’ and confirmed that they were looking for a new site, although hadn’t found one yet.

Another landmark restaurant to call time in 2022 was the Glassboat, which was sold after 36 years. Once one of Bristol’s premier fine dining restaurants, the floating venue moored at Welsh Back had been trading as seafood restaurant and takeaway Fish since the pandemic but owner Arne Ringner (who also owns the nearby Three Brothers Burgers restaurant on Welsh Back and the Lido in Clifton), decided to put the boat on the market.

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The boat has now been sold to new operators so hopefully this marks an exciting new chapter for one of the city’s iconic dining spots.

Another long-running Bristol institution to close its doors in 2022 was Lockside, the former transport cafe under the Cumberland Basin flyover which once featured as ‘Sid’s Cafe’ in Only Fools and Horses.

Originally known as The Venturers Rest and Popeye’s Diner, the cafe on Brunel Lock Road opened in 1963 and had been run by Gary Brunton for the past 20 years but he decided to sell the business and retire.

Al’s Tikka Grill in Ashton also announced its closure in 2022 after 28 years as one of the city’s most pocket-friendly BYO Indian restaurants. By day the Hungry Bite Café (which is still open), this legendary curry house run by Saberali Bardali will be sorely missed.

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But it wasn’t just long-running Bristol eateries to close down in 2022 - there were also closures for restaurants relatively new to the scene.

Hope Bainbridge and Annie Faulkner are calling time on Hoba KebabHope Bainbridge and Annie Faulkner are calling time on Hoba Kebab
Hope Bainbridge and Annie Faulkner are calling time on Hoba Kebab | Insta

Berlin-style kebab restaurant Hoba opened in the old Pizza Hut on St Augustine’s Parade in March but closed on December 23 - just nine months later.

What started as a street food market stall and pop-up by Hope Bainbridge and Annie Faulkner was hit hard by the energy crisis and rising food costs.

In a statement on social media, the duo said: “Sadly Hoba has been hit hard by the energy crisis. Despite all the advice, negotiations and battles we’ve fought, we cannot find a way to move past our current situation and absorb these costs.

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“Not only this, the coming months are looking so hard for hospitality with rising costs from suppliers and the cost of living crisis affecting public spending.

“All things considered, we’ve come to the decision that we have to close. Simply, we’ve had the rug pulled from under us. We are heartbroken. Hoba was a dream come true – we can’t imagine a life without it. But this energy crisis has happened and we have to accept our reality.”

Jamaica Street Stores on the junction of Stokes Croft and Jamaica Street also closed after five years. Owner/chef Charlie James blamed the closure on the rise in energy and rents but also the growing issues with anti-social behaviour on Turbo Island across the road from the business. The notorious area has since been removed and cleaned up.

Family-run Italian restaurant Bomboloni on Gloucester Road shut in October. Owner Sara Griffin started the business in 2017 with chef husband Andrew, who died in 2019, aged just 48. She said she had made the decision ‘with a heavy heart’ after her own recent health issues and also rising staff and energy bills.

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Larkin Cen has closed Woky Ko at Cargo and Queens Road (photo by Kirstie Young)Larkin Cen has closed Woky Ko at Cargo and Queens Road (photo by Kirstie Young)
Larkin Cen has closed Woky Ko at Cargo and Queens Road (photo by Kirstie Young) | Kirstie Young

Chef Larkin Cen’s Woky Ko chain of restaurants was also a high profile victim of the energy crisis, although the closure of Gaol Ferry Bridge was also cited as a reason for shutting the two sites at Cargo in Wapping Wharf. The takeaway Woky Ko stall in St Nick’s Market has stayed open.

In July, the popular Friska chain of ‘healthy fast food’ cafes closed its four sites in Victoria Street, Queen Square, Harbourside and Bristol and Bath Science Park at Emersons Green. Founded by ex-Bath University economics graduates Griff Holland and Ed Brown, Friska launched in 2009 and had expanded outside Bristol but the whole business collapsed and the sites remain empty.

And December also saw the end of Pony Bistro in Bedminster. Run by former Michelin star chef Josh Eggleton and his sister Holly, the restaurant opened as a pop-up in May 2021 but became permanent for a time. The Eggleton family will now concentrate their efforts on their recently rebooted Chew Valley pub restaurant.

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