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New owners close in on Ithaca

Buyers found for failed restaurant site

Published on November 26th 2010.

New owners close in on Ithaca

The former Ithaca restaurant in Manchester city centre is on the verge of being bought by new owners.

The restaurant has been empty since February after the company that ran it, Ithaca Manchester Ltd, went into administration.

Natwest, the firm’s bank appointed LPA receivers to sell the building, which cost around £5m to buy and fit out under previous owner Arnie Hira. The lease on the building was held by another company, Ithaca Ventures LLP.

When it collapsed earlier this year, the business left behind debts of around £2m.The building was being marketed by the Manchester office of Eddisons for £900,000 and has 72 covers over three floors.

When Confidential contacted Eddisons, we were told that a deal was ‘there or thereabouts,’ but no official comment was given. The identity of the buyer has not been disclosed.

Ithaca was aimed at the higher end of the market, particularly celebrities and VIPS. But the venue struggled to establish itself, with some people feeling that the bar and restaurant concept was confused and neither were particularly pushed to the fore.Hira, however, said he would not rule out working in the restaurant trade again, although admitted to learning some hard lessons and losing a significant amount of cash.

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

OurethNovember 27th 2010.

As long as they forget about the bar and just gor for a restaurant then it'll work. Get a great chef in and it could work a dream. Just do food and good service and bang we're on the go.

Richard Hector-JonesNovember 29th 2010.

There will be an exorcism first, right?

JSNovember 29th 2010.

What's Arnie's latest failure, haven't heard for a while, they used to be monthly!

JohnNovember 30th 2010.

Well one sure fire way to avoid failure is to never attempt anything, how's that working out for you JS?

MILSDecember 1st 2010.

Better to have tried and failed then never try at all.

JSDecember 1st 2010.

Not wasting my father's millions is working out quite well actually! This guy has tried and failed at the same thing numerous times now though, just get the message Hira!

restaurant ownerDecember 1st 2010.

Oureth - ' Just do food and good service and bang we're on the go' it's just that easy is it? Have you tried out this unique concept yourself yet? Trading in this economy is tough and I would give credit to anyone brave enough try.

Plonker spotterDecember 1st 2010.

Js get a life,you have been spotted

John HarrisDecember 1st 2010.

Ithaca was a flawed concept but there's no denying there were some great things about it. For my money, Arnie's failure was not opening Ithaca in the first place, it was his failure to adapt when it became clear it wasn't working.

Innocent BystanderDecember 1st 2010.

For success maybe plough any profit back into the business, get a building with a roof that doesn't leak down into the electrics and treat the chef and other kitchen staff decently, pay them properly and on time. Just in general.

P DiddyDecember 1st 2010.

I used to really like that place. I was sad when it closed. The food was really good each time I used the restaurant, and the bar was good too. True it was confusing though - I was never sure whether it was a bar with a restaurant or a restaurant with a bar though tbh!

JSDecember 2nd 2010.

'Plonker Spotter' - the truth hurts does it? Say Hi to Arnie for me.

boyaloudDecember 7th 2010.

It was a great place to pretend to be a WAGster mid-afternoon, I had the 4-course lunch/early tea for about £6/7 loads (confidential vouchers!), stunning value for super fine dining! No wonder it went bust at that price though I suspect most others in there were not spending so little. Agree they should axe the confusing tumbleweed bar parts and make it all restaurant.

IneprceDecember 7th 2010.

Love the Manchester Markets this time around, maybe they should put some of the markets in Ithaca

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