SINGING sensation Susan Boyle will have a set of tearooms named in her honour at the former Odeon cinema on Clerk Street as part of an ambitious relaunch of the historic building.
Plans to open the upstairs tearooms as a “pet project” for SuBo were revealed by brother and businessman Gerry Boyle as his ambitions to reopen the mothballed venue took a step forward as the way was cleared for him to apply for planning permission.
Mr Boyle is planning to rebrand the building as The Instant Arena and run Las Vegas-themed cabaret shows out of the building’s main art deco auditorium.
He said his celebrity sister, who rocketed to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, had been supportive of the project and that he had wanted to do something in return to recognise her success.
He said: “We’re all very proud of her as a family, so why not? She’d expressed in the past that she’d like to have some sort of tearoom interest, so we said ‘we’ve got the premises, why don’t you do that?’
“She’ll be popping in and out. Obviously, her schedule means she won’t always be in Edinburgh, but it’s, if you can imagine, a wee pet project and she’ll be quite happy with that.”
The concept will be modelled on the renowned Betty’s chain from Yorkshire that has been running for nearly 100 years.
High tea, Swiss confectionery and baked delights like fondant fancies and macaroons would all be sold at the Susan Boyle Tea Room.
The singer, known for her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream, has spoken of her love for an honest mug of milky tea in the Mill Cafe, just around the corner from her family home in Blackburn, West Lothian.
Mr Boyle pointed out the tearooms would represent a genuine drawcard for tourists, saying: “Don’t forget that she’s absolutely adored in America.
“We’re very grateful for that, and I would imagine that there’s quite a few Americans who would like to come over to Edinburgh and visit the arena and the Susan Boyle Tea Room.
“What we’re going to do with the tearoom is in the evening, after 6pm when traditionally tea’s over, it flips over to being a restaurant where people can visit at night in connection with the shows themselves.”
The council last week granted a certificate of lawfulness to Mr Boyle’s company, An Instant World, that will allow it to proceed with plans for the Clerk Street building. A champagne bar, coffee lounge and two ground-floor cinema screens will be reopened, with site owner Duddingston House Properties backing the proposals.
The plans will guarantee the 1930s building, which was A-listed in April last year, will be restored to its former glory after sitting derelict for a decade.
The cinema officially closed in August 2003.
Mr Boyle nominated August 2 as the planned date for the grand reopening.
The filmhouse held film premieres for Sean Connery’s Diamonds Are Forever and Mel Gibson’s Braveheart during its heyday, and Mr Boyle said he wanted the venue to again host those kinds of A-list events.
He said: “We can do premieres there. We’re doing Friday, Saturday and Sunday events. The more big names we have, the better.”
A television documentary about the venue’s transformation ahead of its reopening is also in the pipeline. City economy committee convener Councillor Frank Ross said: “It’s a fantastic art deco building and naturally we are pleased it’s being brought back into use. It will provide a welcome boost to the local economy.”
Britain’s Got Tea-lent
SO, what will be on the menu at Susan Boyle’s tearoom?
We had a bash at a possible SuBo-themed menu:
• I Dreamed a cream tea
• Ant and Dec-cles cake
• Black(burn) Forest gateau
• Susan’s-a-millionaire shortbread
• The Diversi-tea
And that could all be washed down with
• A bottle of SuBolinger