Top 50 most influential players in the northern restaurant and bar scene announced

Picture of Nisha Katona, Founder of Mowgli winning a special award
L-R Thom Hetherington, CEO NRB, Nisha Katona, Mowgli, Tony Lyons, Kuits

Mowgli, New World Trading Company and North Brew Co. scoop special achievement awards

BIG names and rising stars were amongst the Kuits NRB Top 50 hospitality power list announced at Northern Restaurant & Bar (NRB) trade show, held at Manchester Central exhibition centre (19-20 March 2019).

The list covers 212 brands, 1527 sites and over 22,840 employees, demonstrating the strength of the region’s hospitality scene.

Three special achievement awards were presented to Chris Hill of Knutsford-based New World Trading Company, which owns bars including The Botanist and The Oast House; Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli Street Food; and John Gyngell and Christian Townsley from Leeds-based North Brew Co.

Nisha was awarded an MBE for services to the food industry in 2018. She recently opened a restaurant in Manchester’s University Green development with further sites confirmed in Sheffield, Cardiff and Leicester.

 “It’s been another strong year for the North’s leading operators, driving the industry forward with a balance of expansion, innovation and consolidation, said CEO of NRB organisers Holden Media Thom Hetherington.

“Recent data from CGA show that the restaurant and bar scene in the major Northern cities is far outperforming London, and I think that a combination of lower costs and a better lifestyle mean more and more operators are choosing to build their businesses in the North.”

Northern cities food and drink scene thriving

New Entries

New entries in 2019 include the founders and directors of Daniel Thwaites, Evuna, Tattu, Ossett Brewery Pub Company, Inn Collection Group, and Gracious Development Group. Both Gusto and Revolution Bars re-entered the list due to impressive performance under their new management teams.

Kuits NRB Top Fifty 2019

(listed alphabetically by surname and grouped by company)

Adele Ashley, Owner, Filmore & Union

Paul Askew, Chef Patron, The Art School

Rob Bacon, Executive Chef Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse

Jason Bligh, Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse

Neil McDonnell, Managing Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse

John Welsh, Operations Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse

James Baer, Managing Director, Amber Taverns

Gary Roberts, Operations Director, Amber Taverns


Richard Bailey, Director, Daniel Thwaites

Craig Bancroft, Managing Director, Northcote

Lisa Goodwin Allen, Executive Chef, Northcote

Tim Bird, Owner, Cheshire Cat Pub & Bars

Mary Mclaughlin, Owner, Cheshire Cat Pub & Bars

Ken Buckley, Managing Director, Bravo Inns

Phil Dearden, Finance Director, Bravo Inns

Sarah Cook, Director, Vaulkhard Group

Harry Vaulkhard, Director, Vaulkhard Group

Oliver Vaulkhard, Director, Vaulkhard Group

Morgan Davies, Founder / CEO, Barburrito

Carlo Distefano, Chairman, San Carlo Group

Marcello Distefano, Managing Director, San Carlo Group


Sean Donkin, Managing Director, Inn Collection Group

Ian Goulding, Chairman, Inn Collection Group

Keith Liddell, Executive Deputy Chairman, Inn Collection Group


Jane Dowler, Founder, Evuna

Roy Ellis, Director, Mission Mars

Neil Macleod, Director, Mission Mars

Joel Wilkinson, Director, Mission Mars

Adelaide Winter, Director, Mission Mars

John Ennis, Owner, Graffiti Spirit

Matthew, Farrell, Owner, Graffiti Spirit

Jobe Ferguson, Director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club

Lyndon Higginson, Director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club

Ross Mackenzie, Director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club

Kit Graves, Director, Lake District Hotels

Charles Graves, Director, Lake District Hotels

Dani Hope, Sales & Marketing Director, Lake District Hotels


John Gyngell, Director, North Bar / North Brewing Company

Christian Townsley, Director, North Bar / North Brewing Company

Jamie Hawksworth, Owner, Pivovar / The Tapped Brew Co

Jonathon Holdsworth, Founder, Pivovar / The Tapped Brew Co


Chris Hill, CEO, New World Trading Company

James Hitchen, Founder, East Coast Concepts

Guy Hitchen, Founder, East Concepts

Chris Hopkins, MD, Hydes Brewery

Marko Husak, Founder, Bundobust

Mayur Patel, Founder, Bundobust


Adam Jones, Managing Director, Tattu

Drew Jones, Marketing Director, Tattu

Matthew Jones, Managing Director, Roxy Leisure

Ben Jones, Managing Director, Concept Taverns

Ashley Kollakowski, Rose Four Group

Simon Stevens, Rose Four Group

Barry Ladhar, Crafted Projects

Michael Ladhar, Crafted Projects


Bob Lawson, Chairman, Ossett Brewery Pub Company

Jamie Lawson, Owner, Ossett Brewery Pub Company

Terry Laybourne, Owner, 21 Hospitality Group

William Lees Jones, Managing Director, JW Lees

Simon Lees Jones, Director, JW Lees


Daniel Murphy, Director, Gracious Development Group

Ryan McMahon, Director, Gracious Development Group


Nisha Katona, Founder, Mowgli Street Food

Tomas Maunier, Director, Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill

Robert Melman, Director, Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill

Paul Moran, Managing Director, Living Ventures

Jeremy Roberts, CEO, Living Ventures

Lucy Nelson, Sales & Marketing Director, Nelson Hotels

Andrew Nelson, Operations Director, Nelson Hotels

Joycelyn Neve, Managing Director, Seafood Pub Company

Andrew Pern, Owner / Executive Chef, The Star at Harome/Star Inn The City

Steve Pilling, Co Owner, Damson Group


Rob Pitcher, CEO, Revolution Bars Group

Jonathan Poole, Director, Red and Blue

Paddy Smith, Director, Red and Blue

Simon Potts, Managing Director, The Alchemist Bar & Restaurant

Oliver Robinson, Managing Director, Robinson’s Brewery

William Robinson, Director, Robinson’s Brewery

Simon Rogan, Co Owner, Umbel Restaurant Group


Matt Snell, Managing Director, Gusto

Chris Soley, Chief Executive, Camerons Brewery

David Soley, Chairman, Camerons Brewery

Chris Ure, Owner, Arc Inspirations

Martin Wolstencroft, Managing Director / Owner, Arc Inspirations

Gary Usher, Owner, Elite Bistros

Steven Walker, CEO, Individual Restaurants

James Warburton, James’s Places

Andrew Wildsmith, Founder, Wildsmith Hotels



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here