Holy Smoke Deal

Holy Smoke, catering company expands with second venue


Jackson and O’Leary Catering Limited (Tom Jackson and Barry O’Leary,) the organisation behind one of Durham City Centre’s popular restaurants, has opened a second venue in West Park Village, Darlington with the help of Swinburne Maddison LLP.

Tom Jackson and Barry O’Leary, the co-owners of Finbarr’s restaurant, situated in the Kingslodge Hotel, have expanded the company’s operations launching Finbarr’s at West Park.  Under this latest venture they have invested £70k to acquire the assets of the former West Park Cafe, situated on Tillage Green.

Working closely with Swinburne Maddison LLP, Mr O’Leary appointed us in a multi-service capacity to ensure that the deal completed smoothly and in a speedy fashion.  

Our team of specialists advised on all aspects associated with acquiring a going concern, including those relating to commercial property and corporate matters, as well as employment law and licensing. 

This is the second time that Swinburne Maddison LLP has supported the company with an acquisition.  In the first instance in 2009, we acted on behalf of Mr O’Leary when he took over the lease of the ground floor of the 21-bedroom Kingslodge Hotel, situated in the heart of the city, launching Finbarr’s Restaurant.

To secure the business Jackson & O’Leary has taken an assignment of an existing 25 year lease of the Tillage Green property, with 18 years of the term remaining.   The company has also retained all of its existing 10 employees. Across both businesses Jackson and O’Leary employ a total of 46 full and part time and staff.

The new venue will now change direction from a cafe/coffee shop and become more focused on becoming a restaurant.   

Speaking about expanding operations Mr O’Leary said:

 “I am delighted to announce that we have added Finbarr’s at West Park to our existing portfolio. It is an exciting time as we refocus the business as it takes on a more contemporary food-led approach.  Similar to continental culture customers can join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner as we will be open right through till nine most evenings.  This is a great opportunity for us to bring the quality of Finbarr’s Durham to Darlington and I am looking forward to welcoming customers old and new.

“Victoria and her team at Swinburne Maddison have provided their usual high level of support and invaluable advice throughout the acquisition process, which takes a lot of pressure off you when you are already running another operation."

Adding her comments on the deal, partner, Victoria Walton, added:

“We are delighted to have worked on Barry’s behalf supporting him in this latest venture and in the growth of his business by providing advice on all aspects of the acquisition.  His success to date is such that I am confident Finbarrs at West Park will soon become a popular destination in Darlington.”

In a second food-led deal recently, Swinburne Maddison LLP advised prominent Sunderland businessman, Andrew Thoburn on his latest venture, Holy Smoke - a new concept meat and liquor bar restaurant based on a pit BBQ style kitchen.  This is the first outlet of its type to open in Sunderland and follow the lead of cities such as in London, Leeds and Manchester where this type of dining is really taking off.

The restaurant is currently being fitted out will open later this month in the former Luma Bar on Derwent Street in the city centre.  

Swinburne Maddison is advising Mr Thoburn on his lease agreement and the licensing aspects of the business. 

View All Articles >