Lead image: 1961. Owner, Andrew Peters, aged 2 outside Bath Green Park, Railway Station (now Green Park Brasserie)
Green Park Station closed it’s doors to passengers in 1966. Throughout the 1970s and 80s the area became derelict, as the tracks were pulled up and the station began to fall apart. It wasn’t until Sainsbury's took on the site in the late 1980s that new life was breathed into the station, and in time it’s booking hall, now Green Park Brasserie came to inhabit the space.
Today’s owner Andrew Peters took on what was then Green Park Cafe at the end of 1991 and in the first few months of 1992 opened the Green Park Brasserie. Fast forward some 25 years and Green Park Station and the Brasserie are thriving.
Our questions and answers with Andrew dig into the success of the Brasserie, the restaurant scene in Bath today and what the next few years looks like for the restaurateurs in Bath.
Andrew, congratulations on 25 years of Green Park Brasserie. Bath is a hugely competitive place to own a restaurant. What do you put the success of the Brasserie down to?
We’ve always been dedicated to the quality of the food and drink we have served. From day one we were committed to an informal, relaxed service and buying as locally as possible.
Our 4 evenings of live jazz every week make us stand out and we are in a great building with a fantastic vibe.
Restaurants in Bath are facing a significant battle with many incoming chain eateries setting up in the city. With smaller marketing budgets and often larger overheads what does the future look like for independent restaurants in Bath?
I compare independent restaurants today with the bakers and butchers of the 1960’s facing the growth of the supermarkets. Independent restaurants need to find their niche and make sure their offer is better than the chains. So, it will be tough but Bath is a great place to make it work.
Did you picture the business 25 years in after taking the keys for the first time?
No, the original aim was to turn the business around quickly and sell it after 2 or 3 years!
Your predictions for the independent restaurant scene in Bath for the next five years?
Change is the constant. Demography and culture change. Eating out is still growing, but chain restaurants are taking a bigger share and are drawn to a place like Bath.
As a general restaurant, I naturally feel that being a specialist must make for an easier life! So, my prediction there will be fewer independents and they will either operate at the high end of the market or in a particular niche. With a few exceptions like Green Park Brasserie!
We intend to keep on going for another 25 years. My father at 92 still comes into the Brasserie twice a week to do the petty cash. I would hope to be doing something similar in my nineties!
What are the stand out moments for the business over the 25 years of operating?
There are turnover milestones that you like to hit, but actually the best times are when we have an amazing evening in the Braz and have lots of happy customers and staff. The awards we have won as Best Restaurant in Bath, from Bath Life and others along the way have been nice.
And for you on a personal level?
We have used the place for some great family parties and dinners. I will always remember my 40th with the Rolling Clones. Also 2 great events in the station, Mahlers symphony of 1000 and Jonathan Miller’s production of Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion.
Green Park Station is now home to many local businesses, what was the area like in 1992?
There has been a lot of change, unsurprisingly! In 1992 there wasn’t a Farmers’ or a Sunday Market. It was very much just a corridor between Oldfield Park and the centre of Bath.
What has made the Brasserie one of Bath’s leading independent restaurants?
Consistent delivery of a very good product at a great price, whilst embracing adaptability.
Also, being here 25 years and the variety of things we do. As well as being a restaurant and a bar, we're a live music venue, a place for Wedding Receptions, School Proms, University Dinners, Fringe Festival events, Christmas Parties. We're kept busy!
The Bath Farmers’ Market are a matter of metres from the Brasserie kitchen. How has having Bath’s farmers and producers on your doorstep shaped your menu over the years?
It’s been a fantastic resource. There is such a range of great vegetables and fruit, cheese, meat and game from passionate producers. It enables us to be seasonal and local.
You’ve also opened other businesses linked to the Brasserie, can you tell us a little about them?
Bath Pizza Co is our newest addition. I had wanted to do wood fired pizza since being in Corsica on honeymoon 32 years ago! We make the dough and tomato sauce, have a terrific oven, and it’s a fantastic product that is proving very popular, especially our £5 lunch offer and the £10 Pizza and Pint offer.
Thanks Andrew, here’s to another 25 years of Green Park Brasserie!
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Alex Peters, email@example.com