A closed Angus pub will reopen as a restaurant this week in a bid for survival.
The Black Abbot in Newhame Road, Montrose has traded for just six weeks since March – opening briefly before the ban on selling alcohol indoors after 6pm meant it shut again at the start of October.
As the furlough scheme ended on Friday, licensee Stuart Thornton said the move to become a restaurant was required to keep his staff in work.
Mr Thornton said: “These are very challenging times for the hospitality industry and we have to adapt to ensure we are still providing opportunities for our loyal customers to enjoy good times whilst adhering to all the Covid guidelines.
“We’ve had our staff on furlough and the restaurant is another avenue to bring in revenue.
“Everyone is affected. With the pub shut we are still paying rent, rates and insurance, the furlough ended last week… we’re doing this to try to keep people in a job.
“We are trying to keep open because if we don’t do anything the pub could close permanently – that’s the harsh reality.”
The Black Abbot first welcomed its customers in 1980 following a competition to name the establishment.
The winner of that competition was John Aitken, known to many as Montrose Port Authority’s honorary archivist and maritime enthusiast.
The restaurant will be called Paniter’s – named after Patrick Paniter, the abbot in charge of Blackfriars Monastery in Montrose who was born in 1470. It will open on Thursday.
“The restaurant is housed in what was originally called Paniter’s Lounge at the rear of the bar and it’s great to be able to continue the connection with the origins of the pub’s name,” Mr Thonton said.
“I hope people will come out and support their local. Because of Covid-19 I’ve got a very experienced chef who was going to be out of a job.
“Whilst the public bar will remain closed for the time being, we are looking to the future and confident our chef, Gordon Bannochie, will help put Paniter’s on the map for freshly prepared food.”
Panthier’s will be open from Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 2pm and 5pm to 7.30pm.