Wreckfish restaurant to open in Liverpool thanks to £200,000 crowdfunding drive

Chef and restaurateur Gary Usher launched the drive on Kickstarter on May 2 with the aim of launching the outlet in the Ropewalks area of the city centre later this year. Tony McDonough reports

Chef and restaurateur Gary Usher will open Wreckfish in Liverpool in September this year

A new restaurant will open in Liverpool’s Ropewalks in September after a £200,000 crowdfunding campaign hit its target – with 45 hours to go.

Chef and restaurateur Gary Usher launched the drive on Kickstarter on May 2 with the aim of launching Wreckfish later this year.

He and his team are behind existing restaurants, Heswall-based Burnt Truffle, Chester-based Sticky Walnut, and Hispi in Manchester.

The project was backed by Tom Kerridge, Simon Rimmer and several other Michelin star chefs.

Mr Kerridge has offered to host an exclusive six-course menu at what will be Wreckfish’s launch evening in October.

All 74 £150-a-head places for the event sold out in 15 minutes, raising £11,000 for the campaign.

‘Anything is possible’

In February Gary opened a pop-up Wreckfish Bistro in Slater Street on the site of where the permanent outlet will be. He said: “This is proof that absolutely anything is possible.

“The banks refused to support me in 2015 when I wanted to open Burnt Truffle and despite three successful restaurants, they struggled to back me again with the amount we need to open a restaurant such as Wreckfish.

“This business can be extremely tough, but opening a restaurant knowing that the local community and people from all over the UK are already behind it is a fantastic feeling.”

Flamed sea bream, the kind of dish diners at Liverpool’s Wreckfish outlet will be able to expect

The record-breaking crowdfunding campaign is the largest ever amount raised in the UK by Kickstarter for a restaurant.

A huge £35,000 was raised just 24 hours into the campaign, with the total now topping £203,000 26 days in from almost 1,500 backers.

Huge support

Fans new and old, as well as fellow industry professionals, have been busy pledging things such as meal tickets for Gary’s four restaurants, branded merchandise, masterclasses, private parties and exclusive guest chef nights.

He added: “From a pop-up in the derelict building in February to raising a record breaking £200,000 in May, I honestly can’t believe we’ve done this and I can’t thank those who have spread the word, backed and offered their time and services to the campaign enough. 

“I absolutely cannot wait to open Wreckfish’s doors in September.”

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