A popular Gobowen restaurant, which supports young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) into employment, has reopened to lunchtime diners.

The Orangery Restaurant, at Derwen College, near Oswestry, welcomed back customers to its newly refurbished dining rooms today (2 November). Some of the first customers through the door were former students visiting the area with their families.

The restaurant has been closed since March 2020, and students and staff were delighted to usher the first diners to their tables.

The restaurant has a new look and a new menu which includes customer favourites such as locally-produced pork sausages, home-made steak and Stonehouse beer pie, and beer-battered cod and chips, alongside Chicken Tikka Masala and Thai green vegetable curry. Starters, desserts, children’s options, and a wide selection of drinks are also available. Prices have been kept as competitive as they were pre-pandemic.

The Orangery Restaurant is part of the College’s commercial area which is open to the public. The College’s ‘High Street’ has easy parking and is a popular destination. It includes a Garden Centre & Shop, Walled Garden Café, The Vintage Advantage charity shop and Hotel 751 training hotel. The shops and eateries are all open to the public and provide work experience for students with SEND.

Hospitality students Jodie Harding and Ellie Simons were pleased to be taking orders, and to see some students and former students and their families, making the most of the restaurant on its first day of opening.

“We are very excited to be working in the Orangery again, and to see customers coming back,” said Ellie.

Diners included former student Josh Asterley who took current student Anna Walker out for lunch at the Orangery to celebrate her birthday.

Another student, Libby Grigg, visited with her parents, who were dropping her back after the half term holiday.

She said: “It’s lovely to be able to visit the Orangery Restaurant again. We ordered a steak and beer pie, vegetable lasagne, and I had a burger with chips. The food was delicious, with big portions. It was great to be served by friends too!”

Commercial Supervisor Sharon Jones said that the College was over the moon to be able to now open all of their outlets to visitors.

She said: “Our Walled Garden Café, Garden Centre and new Vintage Advantage charity shop have been open since March, but we delayed the opening of the restaurant to enable a make-over. It’s wonderful to be back in business. We know a lot of regular customers have really missed the Orangery, and we hope to see them back again soon. Having the support of members of the public is vital to the success of our venues as work-experience for our students. It’s always a pleasure to welcome them here.”

The Orangery Restaurant is also open for group bookings and events, and will be launching its Christmas menu soon. The restaurant is open Monday to Friday 12pm-2pm.