|Location||Newcastle upon Tyne|
|County||Tyne and Wear|
The Whitemare Pool branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located at the junction of the A194, A194(M) and A184 near Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear.
Address and Onsite Information[edit | edit source]
ADDRESS: Leam Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE10 8YB
ONSITE FACILITIES: Shell, Deli2Go (forecourt), Costa Express (forecourt), Burger King, Subway, Travelodge (Book Room)
History[edit | edit source]
Some Little Chefs have stories to tell and Whitemare Pool is certainly one of them. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Little Chef grew significantly all over Britain's road network under the ownership of Forte who were a well respected company. With numerous restaurants opening each year in this era at various different A-road and motorway sites all over the UK, other roadside operators, soon realised the success of the chain's expansion and therefore decided to increase the presence of their own roadside restaurant brands, one of which was Happy Eater, a chain which offered a similar fare to Little Chef. Like Little Chef, Happy Eater saw a significant growth in restaurants all over Britain's A-roads and motorways and one of the sites which they were planning on trading from was Whitemare Pool, a busy service station located just south of Newcastle. The plans were put forward in 1986 for the Happy Eater to open here. However, during the same year, Little Chef's owners, Forte, acquired the Happy Eater brand and saw that out of the two chains, Little Chef was the one which was far more profitable, therefore the Happy Eater never opened and instead, a Little Chef opened here in 1988/89, alongside a filling station and Travelodge hotel. In terms of the interior, eagle eyed spotters would have realised that the restaurant sported the Happy Eater interior design with the wood panelled roof, therefore this suggests that it was still built to the Happy Eater plans.
At the time of opening, the A194(M) was the A1(M) and the A184 was the A1, meaning that the main north-south route went right past the Little Chef at Whitemare Pool. However, a few years later, the A1 was re-routed around the west side of Newcastle instead, resulting in a loss of prime trade around Whitemare Pool. Fortunately though, there wasn't a huge loss in trade and the Little Chef continued to trade as a busy restaurant.
In the mid 90s, when Granada took over Little Chef from Forte, they decided to add a Burger King alongside the Little Chef in order to provide a second restaurant option for travellers.
In 2008, as part of the documentary, Big Chef Takes on Little Chef, Heston Blumenthal popped in to Whitemare Pool Little Chef to discuss the menu with then CEO, Ian Pegler and the Little Chef board. In the documentary, Heston reveals that Whitemare Pool was one of the busiest Little Chefs in the UK as people were queuing out of the door to get a table.
The site continued to trade well until 2012 when then owners R Capital decided to close 67 sites that it deemed to be underperforming with Whitemare Pool identified as one of these. It became a Burger King only site until 2014, when the space of the former Little Chef became occupied by Subway.