It started with just one restaurant – in 1988 on Newcastle’s revamped Quayside, 21 Queen Street was set up by chef Terry Laybourne, his wife Susan and brother Laurance. Within three years it had won a Michelin star and become one of the region’s best-loved fine-dining establishments.
Driven to appeal to a wider audience and offer different styles and venues, Terry has gradually created the 21 Hospitality Group – a diverse collection of some of the North East’s highest-regarded restaurants – Caffé Vivo (2008, a contemporary Italian), Café 21 Fenwick (2006, a sassy department-store eatery), The Broad Chare (2011, a pub serving proper beer and honest home-cooked food) and most recently Ko Sai (2015, an Asian kitchen) and Saltwater Fish Company (2015, a fish bar and fishmonger). 21 Queen Street became Café 21, a sophisticated, classic and modern bistro in 2000 and relocated to Trinity Gardens in 2007. In 2015 it underwent a total interior transformation and was re-branded 21. However, regardless of the new name and the new look it remains one of the North East’s best-known restaurants and the flagship of the 21 Hospitality Group.
Terry and his team have won numerous awards along the way – a Michelin Star, Egon Ronay Star, Independent Restaurateur of the Year, Gold Winner Taste of North East England, Newcomer of the Year and an MBE for services to the hospitality industry.
Throughout the group’s expansion and transformation, Terry’s right-hand man has been Nick Shottel, the group’s Brand Director, who originally joined as 21 Queen Street’s manager. Many of 21′s staff joined as young apprentices, learned their craft, had their talent nurtured and worked their way around the group. Key amongst them are: Chris Dobson (1999, Head Chef at 21), Helen Doyle (2005, Head Pastry Chef for the group), Martin Malinowski (2002, Senior Sous Chef at 21), Chris Eagle (2002, Head Chef at Saltwater Fish Company), Steven Henderson (2007, Manager at 21) and Steve Dunn (1996, Manager at The Broad Chare). It’s a cliché to say 21 is like one big family – but it really is!
Terry has also been associated with a number of other restaurant-based ventures, most notably the creation of Newcastle’s leading boutique, four-star hotel, Jesmond Dene House and The Bistro at the Lakes Distillery in Cumbria. Most recently he assisted with the multi-million-pound redevelopment of the Fenwick Food Hall, which involved his two newest ventures. In October 2015, after 19 years of service, he closed Bistro 21 in Durham to focus his attention on growing the 21 Hospitality Group within Newcastle, the place where it all began and the place where it will continue to expand.