Diners enjoy food al fresco in Sleaford’s Market Place

Date Published: 04 August 2020

Customers are enjoying open air dining in a new chapter for Sleaford’s historic Market Place after North Kesteven District Council gave permission to create three outdoor seating areas.

Three businesses – Tiamo Italian, El Toro Cocktail and Tapas Bar and Market Square Café and Restaurant – are offering space to sit in the sunshine in three new areas, each shaded by parasols.

The seating areas were all up and running in unison for a first full weekend of trading from Friday July 31, and already feedback is that it’s boosting business after coronavirus lockdown and creating a ‘holiday feel’ in the centre of Sleaford.

Guests eat and drink under dappled sunlight through the trees and with views of the historic features of Sleaford’s Market Place, including the Bristol Water Fountain, Sleaford War Memorial and St Denys’ Church.

It’s been set up with social distancing and coronavirus hygiene and cleaning procedures front of mind.

North Kesteven District Council has supported all three businesses through the process.  The work ties in with the authority’s Sleaford Masterplan which identified the need to focus on public realm improvements in the town, better links for pedestrians and improved settings for key attractions and heritage assets.

Leader of North Kesteven District Council Councillor Richard Wright said: “It’s fantastic to see the three seating areas in use and being enjoyed by customers, adding a new dimension to the already vibrant and historic Market Place.

“The new seating has created a space to relax, eat and drink at leisure, and we hope this will encourage people to in turn stay longer and make more use of the surrounding traders and businesses also.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved, including the three businesses which have worked so hard to get this up and running, Sleaford Town Council and the market traders whose joint cooperation has helped make this vision a reality.”

El Toro is serving a range of meat, fish and vegetarian tapas along with fresh cocktails from its cocktail lounge and customers are welcome to enjoy food or just a few beverages in the sunshine.

It’s open on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from early evening until close, extended to help customers benefit from the Government’s 50% off Eat Out to Help Out offer in August, and from midday until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Rick Thomas is co-proprietor with partner Nikki Wakelen-Ball.

“The response from customers has been absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“I‘d like to thank North Kesteven District Council for making this all happen, and we are especially grateful to the Economic Development Team. They have really helped out.

“It’s great, everyone is loving it.”

Sam Pavlou is owner of Tiamo Italian, open Tuesday to Thursday 5pm to 10pm for food, with drinks and Gelato earlier in the afternoon, Friday and Saturday midday to 10pm and Sunday midday to 7pm. It was first to set up some of the new seating and yesterday alone took 50 calls for table bookings.

“It’s everything we wanted it to be. A lot of people say it has a Mediterranean vibe and they feel like they’re on holiday,” she said.

“We’ve got new, fresh spring and summer dishes that are doing really well.

“We’ve also got brand new Italian gelato and sorbets which are flying out and we’re just about to add on waffles and Italian brioche to give it that dessert vibe too, so people if they haven’t chosen to eat a main meal here can still pop in for dessert or drink later on.

“We’re all working in connection with each other. It’s lovely.”

Tom Pigott is owner of Market Square Café and Restaurant which serves up a range of drinks and filling meals, from snacks and salads to full English breakfasts and afternoon teas, from 9am to 4pm Monday to Sunday.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support. It’s nice to offer a service for our regulars and new customers where they feel safe and able to sit out in a relaxed environment.

“We’ve even had people from Bournemouth who had driven through and seen all the parasols out, decided to come into Market Square to park up and come in to visit us.”

All three businesses are taking part in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, running this month. To make sure you don’t miss out, be sure to check each restaurant’s availability and bookings.

Market Place, Sleaford
Market Place