One of Newark success stories, Stray’s Bookshop, Coffee Bar and Tapas restaurant, has seized an opportunity to make life more comfortable for its customers, staff - and the jazz musicians who appear each week - by expanding into the vacant property next door.
Stray’s occupies four adjoining buildings stretching from the corner of Boar Lane to numbers 20, 18 and, now, 16 Middlegate, employing over 30 staff. “We’ve quickly outgrown each new building that we’ve acquired,” explained Manager, Mat Short.
“The latest expansion makes it easier to find a table and be served quicker, cutting queues. With our new Chef, Warren Jones, relocated kitchen and improved prep areas we’re opening earlier with a broader day-long menu offer to include hot and cold breakfasts, lunchtime specials and daytime tapas dishes alongside our existing range of paninis, sandwiches and ‘Mum’s’ sinfully delicious cakes!
“We’re also bringing forward the opening time for the Tapas restaurant to 5pm and introducing a more laid-back early evening menu, great for families or friends meeting for a light meal and a chat after work.”
The brand new extended servery counter has two espresso coffee machines and a state-of-the-art till which has speeded things up. An extra ladies’ toilet has been added and the expansion will eventually add another large courtyard seating area.
The family-owned and run bookshop began trading in Newark in 1994 in the historic Buttermarket. It moved to its current site in 2004 and adopted the name of the previous occupant, Stray’s pet food store, a well-known Newark landmark.
The thriving bookshop soon joined the atmospheric coffee bar and in 2010 Tapas y Stray’s restaurant was launched. A constant jazz soundtrack unifies the rambling, inter-connected site throughout the day and every weekend there is live jazz in the tapas restaurant. According to Mat, jazz and tapas lovers will also enjoy the changes:
“The restaurant now has more jazz-side tables with improved sight-lines so more diners can connect with the band. That will make it possible for us to book bigger names for special ticketed events. We are also planning occasional solo jazz piano treats for daytime customers.”
An additional bonus is that the reconfigured space has created a discrete new party area seating up to 25 people.