School caterers take on Summertown restaurant

thisisoxfordshire: A new restaurant is set to open at the former Florio’s in Summertown A new restaurant is set to open at the former Florio’s in Summertown

A HIGH-end school catering firm has taken over a restaurant in Summertown.

Cucina Restaurants is refurbishing the former Florio’s restaurant in Banbury Road to reopen as The Oxford Kitchen between Christmas and New Year.

Florios closed down in June after just a year in operation.

New owner Steve Quinn said it would be his first high street restaurant.

He said: “This is not so much a new direction as a natural extension of what we have always done.

“We are essentially going back to our roots, providing food which puts the customer first, but doing it in a high street location.

“It is a fantastic location with such a busy high street with a strong local community that we want to tap into.”

He said the builders were aiming to hand back the keys today and he was planning a ‘soft’ opening between Christmas and New Year.

At the moment his company provides catering for Edgbarrow School in Berkshire and Southfield School for Girls Specialist Sports College in Kettering.

The building has had a complete redesign and refit to create a two-level restaurant.

It will also have a garden area and a ‘kitchen table’ next to the kitchen pass, allowing diners to choose from a six-course taster menu while they see and engage with the chefs as they work.

The restaurant’s newly appointed executive chef is John Footman who has worked with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Great Milton, near Thame.

The Oxford Kitchen’s restaurant manager, Tom Wood, used to be manager of the 13th century Cotswold Manor House Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh.

He said: “Our restaurant will offer a new dining experience to the people of Summertown and beyond.

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“We're very excited about the forthcoming opening.”

When Florios shut, a notice in the window that it was closed “until further notice”.

Attempts by the Oxford Mail at the time to contact the owners drew no response.

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