Former visitor centre transformed into ‘Britalian’ café

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A tasty treat now awaits those heading to a visitor centre which has finally re-opened as part of a new business venture.

The purpose-built centre at Portland Park in Kirkby has stood empty for more than a year, having closed due to financial constraints.

But now Adam Bright, who lives in Kirkby, has opened the doors to his new café - The Fat Rabbit.

The 49-year-old businessman already has the Fat Rabbit Conservatory in the Sherwood area of Nottingham, but wanted something closer to 

He said: “It was up for tender, I applied, and after a few false starts we’re now up and running and I hope I’ve got a successful venture in the making.

“It was such a travesty that it was left empty and unloved, so I decided to combine a business venture and something that satisfies my soul.

“I used to run past it two or three times a week and thought it was such a shame that it was closed.

“This has been my dream for the past year and it means so much to me, I’ve invested financially and emotionally.”

Occupying the whole building, The Fat Rabbit will sell what Adam describes as ‘Britalian’ food, combining classic British cuisine with Italian food.

The ingredients are sourced locally where possible and the cafe is fully licenced, so Adam is hoping to sell locally-brewed beer.

The café opened recently with a range of events, including a visit from Robin Hood, Easter egg hunts, a geocashing event and craft stalls that were open across the weekend.

And Adam says the people of the town have welcomed the new café.

“It’s been phenomenal, the response has been staggering,” he said.

“We’ve had such strong support from local people and so many of them have said it needed reopening.”

“We’ve sold more bacon, sausage and beans in the four days since it was opened than I did in the whole of January at the other place!”

Steve Hughes, lead development officer for Ashfield District Council, which owns the site, said: “The visitor centre at Portland Park is a 
great asset for the local community and has been sorely missed.

“Ashfield District Council is very excited about working with Adam at The Fat Rabbit Café to make it a thriving community hub once again.”