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A new restaurant could open at the former Jamie’s Italian in Oxford once renovation work is completed.
Building repairs costing £770,000 are being carried out at the former Jamie’s Italian restaurant.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched his Italian restaurant chain from the city in 2008 but in 2019 it closed after the chain went into administration.
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The Jamie’s Italian on the corner of George Street and Gloucester Street was the chain’s first one and the chef visited on numerous occasions over the years.
Soon after it closed in 2019, The Real Greek, which has restaurants across London, announced plans to move in but since then the unit has remained empty.
Now a restaurant operator is ready to move in to the building, once the repairs are completed.
City council spokesman Tony Ecclestone said: “The works are programmed to be completed towards autumn . We have a prospective tenant – the identity is confidential. The proposed use is for a restaurant.”
The council has not yet revealed the name of the restaurant operator.
The funding for the repairs was agreed by council leaders last year.
Cabinet members agreed £770,000 could be spent on 2-4 Gloucester Street & 24-26 George Street from the existing budget assigned for Condition Survey works.
Scaffolding now surrounds the building and a contractor working on site said earlier: “We are repairing the building – the roof is leaking.”
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Before Jamie’s Italian opened, the building was occupied by the Cock & Camel pub and the unit next to the pub was occupied by Avid Records, which closed in 2008.
The Cock and Camel was a foodies pub with guest rooms but only last for four years before it shut.
There are plenty of other options for Italian food in the George Street area, including Bbuona pizza bar in Gloucester Green, and Bella Italia, Zizzi, Franco Manca and Ask in George Street.
Franco Manca is a chain specialising in pizza and does not serve pasta.
And The White Rabbit pub in Friars Entry is well known for its pizzas.
Jamie Oliver told the Oxford Mail how he took a £2m gamble to open the George Street branch in 2008.
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But in 2017 he blamed a combination of rising Brexit cost pressures and tough trading when he shut six restaurants.
As well as staff costs and lower footfall, the business was hit by the collapse in the pound, which ramped up the cost of buying ingredients from Italy.
Last year he launched Pasta Dreams in Soho, a pasta delivery service, with a view to introducing the service in a number of different cities.
This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.
Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF
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