Chef’s grand design for new Sunderland restaurant

John and Kimberly Calton of Newcastle bistro Route have announced plans to open an ambitious restaurant in the shadow of Sunderland football club’s Stadium of Light. Named Zinc, the restaurant will occupy a prime location of the now-derelict Grade II listed Stable Yards (pictured), overlooking the River Wear.

The couple ran the successful Staith House gastropub at North Shields for nine years and opened Route in 2019. John has also worked at prominent northern restaurants including the Box Tree in Ilkley and the Star Inn at Harome.

Zinc – which takes its name from the building’s black zinc cladding – is scheduled to open next year as the first tenant in the Stable Yards, currently undergoing a £2million transformation into an arts and leisure complex. Historically, the stables accommodated the working horses on Sunderland’s Sheepfolds industrial estate. A new footbridge across the river will connect the complex to the city centre.

John said: “The concept at our restaurant Route is modern British tapas with a bit of a twist. We always cook a lot of fish and shellfish, game when it’s in season, rare-breed meats and lots of different vegan and vegetarian options.

“The idea is to bring that concept to the Sheepfolds but take it to the next level with things like chef’s table and tasting menus, set against a fantastic backdrop of the river in a glass-fronted first-floor restaurant – what can be better than eating fish and oysters at a location like that?”

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