Liverpool’s architectural haven, Castle Street, is renowned for its vast array of eateries, bringing international flavours, delicacies and cultures right to our doorstep. If you’re a regular of Castle Street’s food quarter, you may have spotted its latest addition, Heritage, which prides itself on serving up a range of ‘made from scratch’ recipes from around the world.
Founder of Heritage, Antonia, grew up in a family of food-lovers where quality homemade cooking was the way of life. Her father owned a pizzeria and Antonia became accustomed with an appreciation for culinary from a young age.
Pursuing a different career path, Antonia continued to dream of owning her own restaurant but the time never felt right:“My husband and I always wanted to open a restaurant, as he has been a chef in Liverpool for 20 years. However, with having a young family and a career in teaching, it never felt quite the right time”.
With the support of her family, Antonia decided to step back from her 11-year position as a primary school teacher and take the leap of faith. This gave her the time and space to develop the business idea before contacting The Women’s Organisation and Start-Up Direct for additional support.
Working alongside our Business Adviser, Yan Miao, Antonia was able to get the guidance she needed to make Heritage a reality, “My sessions with Yan were great, sometimes, you just need a little bit of reassurance that you are on the correct path. At times it was nice just to move away from the madness and speak to Yan in a neutral place”.
Having looked at several premises around Liverpool, Castle Street seemed like a natural fit for Heritage, which hosts the daytime workers of Liverpool’s commercial district as well as a high volume of tourists and socialisers. And what makes Heritage stand out? Heritage is unique in terms of the food it offers, everything is made from scratch using traditional methods such as brining chicken for greater tenderness and curing their own bacon in-house for breakfasts.
With a degree in textiles, Antonia has an eye for design and took control of building the brand of Heritage itself. The name ‘Heritage’ means a tradition or set of values passed from preceding generations, and this seemed fitting for the family-run business inspired by the cooking of fathers, grandmothers and friends.
Taking on the role of Project Manager and overseeing the development of the business, Antonia credits never losing sight of her vision: “we have continually reverted to reminding each other that we must stay true to our product ‘Heritage’ – the reason why we opened our restaurant. So far, this mantra has worked. We have seen our business grow, especially over the past two months and we are continually evolving.”
This large-scale venture took Antonia on a whirlwind journey to entrepreneurship and Heritage officially opened its doors early February. The eatery prides itself on having a small but extremely talented team, “With our business growing we now have 12 members of staff, some of which have been with us since the start of business. For us, as our business develops, it’s extremely important to maintain quality service, standard of food and a great experience. Therefore investing time in our staff is key.“
Six months from opening and Antonia has only just begun to acknowledge her own successes: “there is no denying how stressful a big venture like this is. Now, as our business is starting to bed in and become more established, we’ve had a little bit of time to think about the amazing achievement to date – we are four very proud business owners.”
Despite the twists and the turns along the way, the biggest reward for Antonia is “seeing customers enjoying our food and drink and gaining fabulous feedback”. about what she learnt along the way, Antonia urges aspiring-entrepreneurs to preempt diversions from the original plan and gain advice and support from others with experience, such as The Women’s Organisation, where possible.