Fundraiser to save 265-year-old restaurant reaches £100,000

After 265 years of business, Simpson’s Tavern was forced to shut its doors earlier this month after a dispute over rent, but a fundraiser to save the famous chophouse has just hit a major milestone.

The closure of Simpson’s Tavern prompted outrage from both former members of staff and numerous media outlets who were highly critical of the “cynical actions” of Bermuda-based landlord Tavor Holdings.

Among the figures calling for the London institution, famous for its old school menu of sausages, chops and stewed cheese, to be saved were The Times restaurant critic Giles Coren and GB News personality Nigel Farage, who wrote in The Telegraph: “New investors and fresh ideas will also be important in order to safeguard this special place…A lot must be done to save this great institution. It really is the type of place that allows London to call itself a city of character.”

The S.O.S. (“Save Our Simpsons”) Crowdfunder hit £100,000 earlier this week thanks to the donations of 2,500 supporters. An Instagram post from an account run by Simpson’s former staff said: “We can give 100,000 reasons why Tavor Holdings Ltd & it’s agents Hartnell Taylor Cook should work with us and keep the institution alive”.

However, though the money raised is substantial, it is less than a third of the £385,000 fundraising target, a figure that corresponds to the sum of rent arrears from closures during the pandemic. There are also worries that being shut during the pre-Christmas period means that the chophouse is missing out on a great deal of footfall.

Perhaps a graver concern is that, according to this image shared by the Simpson’s Tavern Instagram account, Tavor Holdings and its agent Hartnell Taylor Cook have put the building up for sale. db has reached out to Hartnell Taylor Cook for comment.

Alternatively, the restaurant might be able to cling on by applying for protected status. Councillor Peter Dunphy made a request to have the site listed as an asset of community value. Speaking to BBC News, he said: “Simpson’s Tavern is a community of workers, people who have been coming here for 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. It’s a historic gem.” The decision that will determine Simpson’s’ status, and future, is due on 15 December.

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