Dundee has welcomed a host of new restaurants in recent years – and one of its most famous streets could be set for a food boom.
Much like the Waterfront, Reform Street – previously considered the city’s answer to Savile Row – is in the midst of a transformation.
The street has been maligned for many years, with many empty units blighting the once bustling thoroughfare.
But several planning applications have been put forward for new eateries to join the others that have arrived in the street in recent years.
Project Pizza (previously Project Pie), German Doner Kebab and Asian-themed restaurant Dai Pai have proved popular destinations.
John Brandon, manager at Project Pizza, said he was encouraged by the latest applications and believes the restaurant trade could hold the key to reviving the street’s fortunes.
He said: “When we first opened it was great, we had a great flow of customers.
“There has been something of a steady decline in the last year or so but it’s good to see there have been quite a few applications put forward.
“I don’t know if it’s the case that people’s tastes are changing and we’re in competition with other parts of the city which are seeing more footfall.
“I think the restaurant sector is where we’re going to see a big difference in Reform Street.
“You’ve got the shopping centres nearby, so I think if it’s turned into almost like a food court set-up with lots of different options then that could really give us a boost.”
Permission has been granted by city planning chiefs to convert the former Swinton Insurance shop at 37 Reform Street into a coffee shop and takeaway.
The Little Things Cafe will offer hot drinks and baked treats such as cupcakes and macaroons, along with paninis, soup and sandwiches.
Lisa Shek, who submitted the application, said the menu could later expand into “Asian baked products”.
In August, the Tele reported that listed building consent had been granted for an application to open an independent Scottish-themed diner.
Plans were put forward to create 20-25 jobs at the eatery at the former Jessops camera shop.
The restaurant would deliver “traditional and contemporary Scottish cuisine”, according to documents submitted to council chiefs.
Mr Brandon envisages even more interest in restaurants as the overhaul of Dundee’s Waterfront progresses.
He added: “As far as I’m concerned, the more restaurants the better.
“It helps everyone if there are different businesses and options, so that could help it become the place to be for food.
“I think we’re going to see a difference in the future once things start to come together with the V&A and the Waterfront.
“I do think they should be investing in Reform Street to try to clean it up and make it a lot more attractive.
“We’ve got a lot of empty units at the moment but it’s good that people are at least prepared to try to open up new places down here.”
Community figures and councillors have regularly called for out-of-the-box thinking to fulfil Reform Street’s potential.
Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, believes there is a growing trend for people to look for things to do in the city centre.
She said: “Whether it’s going to The McManus or coming out of the office at lunchtime for a coffee, independent businesses are great for the city, and its centre, so it’s absolutely to be welcomed.
“Hopefully people will support the street and it will get the footfall that it needs.”