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7th Mar 2019
New Last Wine Bar management team and owners

An iconic Norwich restaurant has been saved from closure after four local business people stepped in to buy the business.

The Last Wine Bar and Restaurant, which opened 29 years ago next month, has been bought by the four investors, who are all regular customers of the establishment – and they are promising to retain everything which has made the restaurant such a much-loved Norwich institution.

The restaurant will be run by a management team made up of longstanding manager Emma Neal, head chef Iain McCarten and deputy manager Gracie Sutton, along with business support coach Richard Maxwell, who has many years’ experience in the hospitality sector.  Last Wine bar founder James Sawrey-Cookson, 67, is retiring from the business.

The four investors who have bought the business are Mark Duffy, chairman at Dardan Security; local businessman Mark Loveday; Vince Pearson, chairman of Waterfall Elior; and management consultant Lynda Baxter.

Ms Baxter commented, “Along with many city restaurants, the trading environment has been tough for The Last over the past couple of years, and the business had got to the stage where it needed an injection of capital to put it back on an even keel.  The four of us are longstanding customers who all love The Last, and by investing we are enabling it to face the future with confidence.

“We want to pay tribute to what James Sawrey-Cookson created here, and we are delighted to be able to take the business forward with its management team.  We certainly won’t be changing what people love about The Last, but we will be looking to invest in improvements to ensure The Last has a bright future.”