The ‘official’ joint opening for Bridges Espresso Bar and Naughty Pizza at Riverside Bedford took place on Friday (30 October), marking the last two council-owned units at the complex to be filled.
Mayor Dave Hodgson attended the event, which officially welcomed the two independently-owned businesses to the riverside development.
Bridges Espresso Bar opened in early September and employs 20 members of staff. They have already built up a steady stream of regular customers throughout the day, coming for coffee and breakfast, through to sharing boards and cocktails.
It is run by Beckie Fry and her brother Daniel Steele, whose mother-in-law formerly ran the Harpur Coffee Company at the bottom of the spiral in the Harpur Centre.
Beckie said, “It has taken a couple of years to get to this point but we are happy to be trading and to be part of the Riverside Bedford development.
“We have used local companies to fit-out the premises and source local based products and produce for our food and drinks.
“Supporting local businesses is becoming ever more important and we welcome the great feedback we have had so far from customers since trading and look forward to operating alongside the other great independent and national businesses at Riverside.
“It’s a great location and we’re already looking forward to next summer when we’ll be able to serve customers outside on our terrace.”
Bart Misztal from Naughty Pizza said, “Our main business is supplying high-quality pizza ovens, but we decided to put our experiences and skills together to make outstanding Italian pizzas.
“The idea for a Naughty Pizza was born five years ago but the team were waiting for the perfect location in Bedford. When we saw Riverside setting, it was the one. This is our fourth outlet in the UK and we hope there will be many more.
“Even though these are extremely challenging times, it is full steam ahead and nothing is stopping us. The Council was a massive help in us gaining the property and it has been great to welcome people since our doors opened earlier this month.”
Since its launch in September 2017, Riverside Bedford has seen the closure of national chains including Gourmet Burger Kitchen and MexiCo. While these units are still up for rent, all of the properties owned by Bedford Borough Council have now been filled.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said, “It was great to cut the ribbon on these two businesses this morning, officially welcoming them to Riverside Bedford.
“This complex really has brought our town centre onto the beautiful riverside with Vue Cinema, Premier Inn, restaurants including Miller &Carter, Zizzi’s and Wagamamas, and now these two independents joining them and Albero Lounge on Riverside Square.
“Coronavirus has presented a huge challenge for town centres across the country. Especially in that context, it really is fantastic news that we are still welcoming new businesses to Riverside Bedford with local independents such as Bridges Espresso Bar and Naughty Pizza.
“Our town centre is continuing to thrive as a great place to live, work and visit and these investments really do show confidence in Bedford.
“The Council has worked really hard to attract businesses to our units at Riverside Bedford and helped these businesses to get their doors open.
“I am really delighted that all of our units are now full, with a mix of national with Anytime Fitness, and local independent businesses.
“We are continuing to work with the owners of the other units at Riverside Bedford in generating interest and sourcing prospective occupiers to fill the vacant space and add to the already excellent offer of high quality restaurants and venues.”
Following the announcement on Saturday of further national restrictions, takeaways will be available from both venues from Thursday.