The School Yard site will also host an Italian chain restaurant, Prezzo, and a new restaurant backed by local entrepreneur Chris Kelly, the man behind Metro in Cornwall Street.
It will be Prezzo’s first foray into the Birmingham market and those who despair at the corporate colonisation of our high streets will take heart from the balance being struck at the School Yard between a branded restaurant and independent food businesses, such as the new Metro Continental.
Only last week, the Birmingham-based – and privately owned – San Carlo group opened its latest restaurant in the city. Fumo has brought Venetian-style “small plate” eating to the central business area.
These are just a few examples of the great strides being taken by the city’s food industry.
Some of it you may love; some of it you may hate. And I, for one, would not be so naive as to offer unqualified praise of all the developments that have taken place in recent years. Spiceal Street, at the Bullring, for example, represents a missed opportunity to give local Birmingham/regional cooking talent an opportunity to shine.
Whatever your tastes, it cannot be denied that eating out and food represents a growing part of Birmingham’s economy. Just as the arts led the regeneration agenda in the 1980s and 1990s, food is doing its bit to drive employment and wealth creation in the 21st century.
And in the current climate, anything on the plus side of the financial equation is to be applauded.
Neither are the sums of money being channeled into the area insignificant. The investment already pumped into Hogarths and the cash earmarked for the Harborne scheme totals £10 million.
And as the screws continue to tighten on the public sector, the success of Birmingham’s food story underlines the importance of private sector investment, expertise and innovation.