NICE owner positive about Storey future

Paul Rastelli-Lewis and daughter Francesca Lewis in the Nice Restaurant and Bar in the Storey Institute.
Paul Rastelli-Lewis and daughter Francesca Lewis in the Nice Restaurant and Bar in the Storey Institute.

The owner of the NICE Bar and Restaurant at The Storey says he is positive about the building’s future, despite a “litany of broken promises”.

Paul Rastelli-Lewis, owner of NICE Catering Ltd, and his daughter Francesca Lewis, general manager of NICE, have rode the Storey storm over the past few months, working hard to keep their business alive inside the building despite threats of closure.

The Storey is also due to hold its first wedding reception since the problems started on October 13.

Mr Rastelli-Lewis said that his business took on many of the responsibilities left by the former management in order to keep the building open to the public.

He said: “The main points we want to get across are that we’re open for business, and the room lettings situation has been resolved.

“We’re currently dealing with this alongside the council.

“We’ve got the facilities and the space for exhibitions, conferences, weddings and events - it’s a wonderful building.

“With the return of the Visitor Information Centre this shows a more positive outlook to the public, and the creative industries centre can be developed alongside.

“Our primary interest is to see the public facing aspect of the building better utilised, and more available for use by all sections of the community.”

Mr Rastelli-Lewis said that NICE had had difficulties in securing bookings for people that wanted the space “but for all kinds of reasons were refused it”.

The Storey features a gallery, music room, 200 capacity auditorium, the Thomas Storey room for small exhibitions, three meeting rooms, the bar and the restaurant and office spaces.

Mr Rastelli-Lewis added: “The building needs income and has got the potential to be self-financing.

“It doesn’t need to be a drain on the city.

“It will take time and determination but we’ve invested, other companies have invested and the future of the building rests on the public sections being properly used.

“Moving forward we’d like to work directly with the council to look after the public spaces, because it’s cost effective and we’re here anyway.

“I can honestly say that the whole situation has been a let down for us from day one, but NICE has succeeded despite a litany of broken promises.”

Events at The Storey organised by NICE include a Halloween themed cocktail masterclass on October 31, a food quiz on December 4, and a Christmas craft fayre on December 9.