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September 22, 2020

In a city of any size, the turnover in restaurants is always pretty high and recent events have speeded the process up to warp factor nine.

While no-one is cheering the Covid closures, the crisis has created opportunities for operators to bite the bullet and launch new businesses.

Pencilled in to open on Thursday 24 September, a new branch of Van Winkle is taking shape on Byres Road.

The original Van Winkle opened on the Gallowgate in the East End back in 2017.

Stocking a wide range of bourbon and dishing up wings, ribs, burgers and brisket, it proved a popular formula.

Especially with fans heading on afterwards to gigs in the Barrowlands - remember those?

Setting up shop in the former Hill premises at 94 Byres Road, the new Van Winkle will serve small plates, burgers and sandwiches, a five-cheese macaroni and the Van Winkle buffalo chicken wings.

And bourbon. Let’s not forget the bourbon.

Kentucky on Byres Road

The blog was tickled to learn that they will also have a dog-friendly menu which has been created by BBC Scotland’s resident vet, Ross Allan from Pets’n’Vets.

It’s a fun idea albeit one that runs the risk of pampered pooches turning their noses up at a tin of Pal in the future.

Derek Mallon of Van Winkle said: ‘Van Winkle is all about sharing a flavour of the USA and we’re incredibly excited to be opening up our second bar on Byres Road.

‘Our aim is to bring real quality products, delivered by genuine people, in an atmosphere that transports you to Kentucky.

‘The last few months have been undoubtedly tough for the hospitality industry, so it feels very positive to be opening new premises, creating jobs and bringing something new to the food and drink scene in the West of the city.’

The Van Winkle team also run Mharsanta in the Merchant City.

See bottom of blog for Van Winkle offers via 5pm.

Can do katsu

Catch Katsu at West Nile Street soon.

Catch Katsu at West Nile Street soon. Pic: Facebook

In the city centre, Katsu Japanese Curry Shop is preparing to open its doors on West Nile Street.

It’s billed as an Asian fusion restaurant and promises to bring ‘all things katsu’ to the city centre.

Katsu originally referred to a breaded and fried pork cutlet but chicken, prawn and veggie versions are just as popular now. 

It is often served with a Japanese curry sauce which will be familiar to anyone who has ever tasted a Vespa curry.

Forget about trying to create a balanced marriage of spices. Katsu curry is big, bold and in your face.

It’s the Japanese fast food equivalent of a dirty burger or salt ‘n’ sauce. Currywurst is possibly the nearest European equivalent.

Not so long ago, katsu sandwiches - or rather katsu sandos if you want to speak the lingo - were very fashionable in London’s hipper gastrodomes so it will be interesting to see what Katsu Japanese Curry Shop has on the menu when it opens.

Van Winkle offers

In the meantime, the original Van Winkle can be booked via 5pm and they have a number of offers on the go.

For example, book in today and you can enjoy a 50% discount per guest, up to a maximum of £10, when dining on the a la carte menu.

Alternatively, you could take on the £10 unlimited wings offer. You have 90 minutes to chow down on as many chicken wings as you think advisable.

Main pic is from Van Winkle Facebook.