Opening date nears for new rattray restaurant created from historic church

With building and refit work soon to end, the new Littles restaurant in Rattray, Blairgowrie, will open to the public in February 2018.

Chef/Proprietor Willie Little, who is also an award winning fishmonger, has revealed the results of nearly a year’s hard work at the former Riverside Methodist Church. The building is just over the River Ericht from the original Littles Restaurant, which is situated at Wellmeadow.

The pink sandstone building, completed in 1887, and most notable for its stunning commemorative stained glass window dedicated to the role of the Labour Corps in WW1, is now a stylish 100 cover restaurant including a bar and seating area with comfortable sofas. Many original period features have been retained, including the pulpit and font. The new restaurant also includes a raised seating area where snacks and light lunches will be served. The outside space has been fully landscaped to include a carpark.

Said Willie Little: “I am delighted to announce that the end of this exciting and challenging project is in sight, as it was always my intention to complete the remodelling in less than a year, subject to planning and licences, and to be able to officially open in February. This will be a fantastic start to the New Year for myself and my team.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped make this dream a reality – my team of builders and tradesmen have all worked extremely hard – it has been a labour of love to create a new use for this historic building and I am very excited about showing off the results to Littles customers old and new,” he said.

Willie made particular mention of Patrick Rooney, a recently graduated filmmaker and videographer, originally from Blairgowrie, who has documented the progress of the Church renovation from start to finish into a documentary style short film.

“Patrick used to work for me at the restaurant,” said Willie. “I have known him for several years. He is very talented at what he is doing with film and made a documentary about me a few years ago called “A Day in the Life of Willie Little.” He wanted to come back and cover the Church project and has visited many times over the past ten months, travelling from Glasgow, to film footage and take still photographs as the work unfolded. I would like to thanks him for his efforts – he has created a wonderful and absorbing record of what has been done, which we will post on our social channels. I wish him all the very best for his future in the industry.”

From the outset of the project Willie had been keen to safeguard the notable stained glass windows in the Church, with the window commemorating the sacrifice made by Labour Corps in WW1 being the only one of its type in the British Isles.

“I am really pleased that the atmospheric grandeur of the Church, with these amazing windows, has been preserved. It is really breath taking and it’s putting them in front of a new congregation to enjoy if you like. I think diners will be blown away by this truly inspiring space which deserves to be retained in the community,” said Willie.

“I think we have created something Rattray and Blairgowrie can be really proud of.”

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