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Newport Chef Defies Pandemic to Open Second Business During Lockdown


A Newport chef has opened her second business during the Covid pandemic – achieving her dream of running her own restaurant more than four years ahead of schedule.

Young entrepreneur Vivienne Read has opened the North Street Bar & Grill in Newport just six months after launching her Chef Read catering van business.

The new venture – launched with her partner Leighton Newberry – opened in February for takeaways only due to the current lockdown restrictions.

North Street Bar & Grill

The North Street Bar & Grill’s menu – including Chef Read favourites like gourmet ‘around the world’ burgers and chicken wraps – will be available for collection or delivery. Customers can order by phone initially, but the menu will shortly be available via Just Eat and newly-launched Newport Eats.

The takeaway service is open 5pm-10pm Wednesday-Saturday, and 11.30am-5pm on Sundays. The takeaway hotline is 07729 527759.

When the bar can open fully, Vivienne, 26, and Leighton, 25, have a completely different menu planned and intend to serve afternoon teas, Sunday lunches, breakfast, and ‘bottomless’ brunches.

Chef Read opened at the Market Site on Usk Way in Newport last September, and at the time Vivienne said her aim was to open her own restaurant within five years.

Now Vivienne, formerly a chef at the Celtic Manor Resort and head chef at the Golden Lion in Magor, has achieved her aim just six months later.

And she says the experience of launching a business in tough economic times has inspired her.

“The catering van will be staying open. That has not only been my bread and butter; it has given me the confidence to move forward quicker than I’d planned,” said Vivienne.

“I’ve opened one business during the pandemic and that has gone so well it’s enabled me to expand.

“When Leighton and I found out the North Street premises was available, we both felt there was no time like the present.

“My attitude now is if I can launch a business when I did and get through lockdown successfully, then I can do anything.”

In the catering trade since she was 17, Vivienne worked at the Celtic Manor Resort for six years with chefs such as television MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen.

Former St Joseph’s High School pupil Vivienne made a name for herself in 2015 when she reached the final of Junior Chef of Wales, representing South Wales and winning the silver medal.

And the businesswoman already had plans with Leighton – with whom she has a two-year-old son – to open a third business.

To order a takeaway from the North Street Bar & Grill, call 07729 527759.