This year a number of big names and independent stores are set to open or have already opened their doors in Colchester.

So here we have taken a look at shops, venues and restaurants which have opened over the last few months – and those which are planning to arrive in the city soon.

Brick Lane Bagel Co.

Gazette: Brick Lane Bagel Co. posters have appeared in an empty High Street unitBrick Lane Bagel Co. posters have appeared in an empty High Street unit (Image: Newsquest)

The firm, founded by father and son duo Stuart and Elliott Hearne, is in the process of building an eatery in High Street, Colchester.

The space had previously been used as the flagship showroom for Blackstone, which produces handmade and bespoke kitchen products.

Everything from Irish salt beef brisket to oak-smoked salmon will make-up the bagel shop’s food-to-go-menu, as well as the brand’s delicious signature creations.

There is no opening date yet but work is underway.

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Northern Gateway (Cineworld, Travelodge, Wendy’s, Greggs and Kervan Kitchen)

Gazette: The Northern Gateway leisure park is due to open later this yearThe Northern Gateway leisure park is due to open later this year (Image: Northern Gateway)

Construction has got underway for the Northern Gateway Leisure Park and it is due to open later this year.

Plans for the Northern Gateway scheme were first mooted in 2015 and were given permission in December 2020.

The multi-million pound leisure park will have a Cineworld, Travelodge with 90 rooms, while restaurants Wendy’s and Greggs will now each boast a drive-thru on the site.

There will also be a Kervan Kitchen serving up authentic Turkish cuisine.

Earlier this year more food brands were confirmed for the site.

An Eastern Mediterranean restaurant and a gelato hub have agreed to lease units at the site, though we don’t know the names just yet.

The project has already secured a 20-lane bowling alley from Hollywood Bowl and a Puttstars indoor golf centre.

Jump Street will also be opening a climbing centre.

The building work on the project is scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2023.

Smacks Hamburgers

Plans have been submitted which reveal Smacks Hamburgers will open in a vacant store.

Last month plans were signed off by Colchester Council for changes to be made to the premises which formerly housed Optical Revolution.

The building will be used as restaurant with some changes to the internal layout of the building.

Smacks Hamburgers has restaurants in a number of locations across London.

It is also in the process of opening eateries in Ilford and Southport.

It is not yet known when the Smacks will open in the city centre.


The brand has been given the green light to put up signs at 40 Culver Street West.

The building was previously used by JD Sports which is now based in Lion Walk Shopping Centre.

Greggs had applied to Colchester Council to put up four fascia signs, one projecting sign and some window vinyl graphics.

The new shop will become the sixth the brand has in the city.

Trattoria Cavalli

Gazette: New seafood restaurant set to open in Colchester following £10k investmentNew seafood restaurant set to open in Colchester following £10k investment (Image: Newsquest)

Teddy Cretu is opening his Trattoria Cavalli restaurant in Osborne Street.

It will replace Mama Rita’s, the previous restaurant to operate on the site before it closed down late last year.

Since then, they have spent the best part of £10,000 cleaning and renovating the restaurant in preparation for its opening, with the entrance to Trattoria Cavalli, also receiving a makeover.

Teddy says he is in no doubt of the quality of food which will be offered to customers.

“It will be proper seafood. It will be good food – this I can guarantee everyone," he said.

“If someone doesn’t like my food, I will tell them not to pay the bill."

Roots and Grooves

Gazette: Baz will launch Roots and Grooves next Wednesday in St Nicholas Passage, ColchesterBaz will launch Roots and Grooves next Wednesday in St Nicholas Passage, Colchester (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

Roots and Grooves, has filled in the retail unit once occupied by Upchurch Jewellers in St Nicholas Passage.

Baz Briggs, who will be running the shop with his partner Amy, said he always had ambitions to open a business which was involved in selling vinyl.

The inspiration for the idea came after a bank holiday visit to a café in Bath, where the owners had mastered the balance of a retro café which also sold vinyl to music lovers.

Safari Coffee House

Gazette: Safari Coffee House is owned by the Kenyan-born Samuel ChegeSafari Coffee House is owned by the Kenyan-born Samuel Chege (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

Safari Coffee House is the latest independent business to open in the city centre, with the eatery welcoming customers in Priory Walk.

It followed a successful soft launch which took place in December, and currently, the business is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm.

Owner Samuel Chege grew up in Kenya and previously ran a mobile coffee shop in London, but this venture is, he explained, a chance for Colchester’s different communities and ethnic groups to get together in one place.