Thoughts of home as restaurant couple plan ahead

Greenhead House restaurant . Neil Allen and Ann
Greenhead House restaurant . Neil Allen and Ann

PLANS are afoot to close the door on one of Sheffield’s top restaurants and turn the 17th century building back into a family home.

But aficionados of the Greenhead House at Chapeltown need not despair – there is little chance of that happening for at least five years, say owners Ann and Neil Allen.

The couple have submitted a planning application to return the ground floor restaurant in the Grade II listed building to living accommodation and develop the car park into a single home.

The proposed house would be stone built with a traditional feel, giving the impression of a converted outbuilding within the grounds of the original. However, there are no plans to take advantage of any planning permission for the foreseeable future, said Ann.

“We’re here for a good few years yet. But in five or six years’ time we might be ready to think about it. We have a lovely life now; we take plenty of holidays and we enjoy what we do. But our pensions have disappeared like everybody else’s. I think we’ll just keep going – and I’ll have a trolley instead of a zimmer!”

Ann, 51, and Neil, 52, opened the restaurant in 1983, before daughters Katie and Rosie were even born.

They earned a reputation for top quality food and friendly service in the relaxed atmosphere of their family home. They also picked up a coveted Michelin recommendation and two points in the Good Food Guide.

The recession has hit them, says Ann, but they are not ready to give up yet. This year they are launching a series of special events in addition to regular restaurant service; the first two, both Sunday brunches, are already booked up.

“We’ve had a lot of fun organising the events but we’re nervous about it because it’s something new. That’s not a bad thing, though – it keeps you on your toes.”