THE King of Crowdfunders Gary Usher, fresh from raising his 24 hour target of £50,000 in just 60 minutes towards launching Pinion in Prescot, is already expanding his plans for arriving in city centre Manchester.
Kala on King Street will be his sixth bistro project, hot on the heels of Pinion. Now he has plans for an accompanying boutique hotel, he exclusively revealed to trade bible The Caterer.
They named him in their Top 100 Most Powerful People in Hospitality and the power of his Kickstarter campaigning was reinforced by eventually accumulating £86,624 pledged by 1,193 backers in a whirl of social media excitement.
“It’s all calmed down now,” he told the Caterer before unveiling his Manchester plan for a hotel close to Kala, due to open this summer (reportedly in the former Whistles site).
He said: “At Wreckfish (his fourth restaurant, opened in Liverpool last year] we have a deal with the hotel opposite so anyone who goes there for breakfast and finds it’s at maximum occupancy, particularly at the weekend, can come to the restaurant and get a bit of a deal with us. At Kala in Manchester we aren’t going to have that, so I thought ‘you know what? Let’s just open a hotel’.”
“There are a couple of sites in Manchester which I think will be perfect for a hotel, so why not? Hopefully next year we will go for it – a boutique hotel with anything between 12 and 16 rooms. Something small and manageable.”
The plans for Kala, which translates as black in Urdu, are more concrete: “Rather than having a rustic feel it’s a massive glass-fronted building with polished floors. We will be using marble and lots of black because it’ll suit the glass feel the best, so why not call it Kala!”
The restaurant will have 70-covers and serve breakfast lunch and dinner. At the entrance there will be a bar for 15 people which will also serve food. “It’ll be a bit more all-singing and all-dancing, somewhere you can properly eat unlike Wreckfish, where you can go in there and chill out or get a cocktail,”
Kala and Pinion will join Sticky Walnut which opened in Hoole, Chester, in 2011. Burnt Truffle followed in July 2015 after securing more than £100,000 through Usher’s first Kickstarter campaign. Didsbury-based Hispi came next, receiving nearly £60,000 in pledges.
In May 2017 Usher raised more than £200,000 from 1,522 backers for his fourth restaurant, Wreckfish, in Liverpool.