North East Connected

Ward Hadaway facilitates completion for family’s latest restaurant acquisition

An all-female team of lawyers from Ward Hadaway has successfully facilitated the legal completion of a new gastropub in County Durham.

The Owl & Otter in Burnopfield was opened by two sisters, Roya Irving and Rosa Talai in October. It is the third acquisition within the family-run group, which also operates two popular Italian restaurants, Sorella Sorella and Sale Pepe.

Following in their father’s footsteps, Roya, 36 and Rosa, 32 acquired the former New Plough from North East operator, Tavistock Group creating 20 new jobs. After extensive refurbishment, their first non-Italian restaurant opened in time for Christmas serving up classic homemade British food – all freshly prepared and cooked on site.

The Owl & Otter is a modern pub and restaurant with two open plan trading areas, comprising an 80-cover restaurant and a separate bar and lounge which can comfortably accommodate a further 20 seated diners.

The family business began in 2004 when their father, Majid opened Sale Pepe restaurant in Shotley Bridge. Qualified solicitor, Roya and management consultant, Rosa decided to open the family’s second Italian restaurant, Sorella Sorella in Sunniside, Gateshead in October 2012. Year on year, Sorella Sorella has grown from strength to strength and won the English Italian Award for Best Team in England for staff and food in 2018.

Ward Hadaway provided legal advice on the acquisition of the property from Tavistock Group and conducted due diligence, advised on the premises licence and the recruitment of 14 employees from Tavistock to Sorella Sorella Limited.

The transaction was completed within seven weeks of instruction and is the latest within the firms many hospitality and leisure sector clients.

Laura Gooddy, an Associate at Ward Hadaway, said: “We were delighted to assist Sorella Sorella Ltd on their continued growth with the purchase of the business and assets of The New Plough. This transaction involved a team of lawyers from across the business including property, employment and corporate. This not only demonstrates our strengths and capabilities of delivering legal advice all under one roof but our growing team of experienced lawyers.

“We wish them all the best with The Owl & Otter and look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Roya said: “We are thrilled to have opened our third venue and we continue to work hard to provide excellent food and service in all our restaurants.”

Operating three restaurants, Sorella Sorella Limited employs up to 80 staff and Roya and Rosa are keen to add to their expanding portfolio.

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