We are just so excited about the transformation of our high street, in Tring — this place is getting better by the day! As a girl who likes her food, the highlight has to be the restaurants. We’ve been lucky over the last few months to see two of our beautiful historic buildings undergo renovations to transform them into high end eating venues. The second of these, Lussmanns will open in July in the majestic ex-HSBC building. As part of a small group of Hertfordshire restaurants championing sustainable, ethically sourced food and with a sleek and individual eye for interiors, they will no doubt be a hugely welcome addition to the high street. I for one have loved watching the excitement of the team as they lovingly restore the old building (do give them a follow on Facebook or Instagram to chart their progress if you haven’t already.) I simply can’t wait to see the final product!
So, as the man at the centre of the action, I was keen to catch up with Andrei Lussmann and hear all about the new restaurant and why he chose Tring…
How long have you worked in the restaurant industry?
I’ve been working in hospitality for 28 years now. After gaining early experience at Forte, Bass and TGI Fridays while studying for my Hospitality & Business degree at Birmingham Polytechnic, I went on to hold senior positions at Pizza Express, Fish Diner and Corney & Barrow, where I developed an excellent understanding and appreciation of wine.
How long has Lussmanns been running and what led you to set up?
The first Lussmanns was a small café that I opened in 2002 with my sister, Alex. It was just off the Portobello Road in London and was the sort of place that we wanted to eat at — something different to the other high street eateries. After two years, we decided it was time to open a real restaurant, so we headed north and opened Lussmanns in Hertford in 2004. Our restaurant in St Albans followed a year later, and then we expanded to Harpenden in 2013 and Hitchin in 2016. Lussmanns is founded on the belief that it’s possible to be ethical and profitable. What we’re trying to do is make sustainable dining accessible to everyone — providing a ‘classy but classless’, locals-driven alternative that consistently delivers great food, service and value to diners.
What gives you the biggest buzz, doing what you do?
I love creating new restaurants; finding the right location, understanding what the building has to offer and then allowing the character of each location to develop and grow until it realises its potential. We work hard to achieve this on a tight budget, but I enjoy the challenge of this, the thrill of discovering and restoring original features, making decisions as work progresses, and then finding the right new fixtures and fittings to bring the history and personality of the building to life. There’s a great joy and satisfaction in undertaking this type of project.
What made you decide on Tring as the location for your latest restaurant?
I think Tring is a lovely place. It reminds me of an old ABC book that I used to read when I was a child. The architecture is interesting, there’s a great ambience here, and you’ve got The Chiltern Hills, Ivinghoe Beacon and the Ashridge Estate on your doorstep. Tring’s been part of my plan for a while now; it was just a question of finding the right site because I think Lussmanns will do well here.
What should we be most excited about in the new Tring Lussmanns?
I hope that you’ll be excited by what makes us different. And, although our ethics and sustainability are a key part of this, it’s our value-driven menu, the quality of our food and the way in which our well-trained, happy and knowledgeable staff look after our patrons that keeps them coming back. I also hope that you’ll be excited to see The Old Bank transformed into an elegant and stylish restaurant — with 70 covers, a mezzanine floor and a lovely wood-panelled private dining room (the former bank manager’s office) that will be perfect for family get-togethers and special celebrations. We look forward to meeting you all soon — please do join our mailing list (via our website) for a special preview offer.
Photo credit Paul Winch-Furness for Lussmanns
Facebook (where we are posting photos of our progress): https://www.facebook.com/LussmannsTring
Mailing list sign-up: http://www.lussmanns.com/promotions-offers/sign-up
Job opportunities (we are very keen to hear from people wanting to work with us): http://www.lussmanns.com/Join-Us