Award-winning chef adds Old Town coffee house to expanding empire

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A chef who gained experience with some of the top restaurants in the UK prior to winning national awards for his street food has now unveiled his latest venture with a coffee shop in the heart of Hull’s Old Town.
Chris Harrison and Kathryn Shillito outside Riverhouse Coffee Co.

A chef who gained experience with some of the top restaurants in the UK prior to winning national awards for his street food has now unveiled his latest venture with a coffee shop in the heart of Hull’s Old Town.

Chris Harrison will follow the opening of Riverhouse Coffee Co “as soon as possible” with the launch of a stall in Hull’s revamped Trinity Market.

The double investment will take his workforce from the two who launched the Shoot The Bull street food brand two years ago to a total of nearly 30, and it has brought plaudits from people driving the regeneration of Hull city centre.

Kathryn Shillito, HulBID City Centre Manager, said: “Chris honed his craft working in some highly-rated restaurants and he’s made a great contribution to the culinary scene in Hull with The Old House, a pub by Shoot The Bull, and a starring role in the hugely popular Hull Street Food Nights.

This latest venture – a quality coffee shop – is a great addition to the Old Town and is further evidence of independent local traders being rewarded for their innovation.

Chris, who is only 28, worked at restaurants including The Fat Duck in Bray, the Hand and Flowers in Marlow and Hull’s own 1884 Dock Street Kitchen to gain the experience which has driven the success of his own business.

He launched Shoot The Bull two years ago, winning national awards for street food, selling at events across the north of England and this year joining the HullBID steering group to develop Hull Street Food Nights.

Chris launched a pop-up restaurant at The Old House in Scale Lane, Hull, in February 2016 and a permanent service at the property last December. The modernisation of Trinity Market prompted the idea of taking a stall there, but that project paused while work was completed on Riverhouse Coffee Co.

He said:

The place next door was vacant, and the fact that we had an empty, lonely neighbour gave us the idea to open a coffee shop. It’s something the Old Town hasn’t got and something I like doing, going to coffee shops.

The opening of Riverhouse Coffee Co will also help Chris build capacity in other areas of the business, including a restaurant which is frequently full.

He said:

We plan to open at the market as soon as possible and that will become our central kitchen to supply the coffee shop and the mobile pop-ups as well. Next we will look at the surrounding areas and at other cities.

“We started with two people, we took two more on full time for Riverhouse Coffee and we will take on some part-time staff in the coming weeks. We now have about 20 people altogether and we expect to increase that to 30 when we open the market and get some more pop-ups going. We have more than doubled the turnover in the restaurant since we took it over and everything we make goes back into the business.”