INTERVIEW: Owner of Five March on opening a new location and why Glasgow’s hospitality scene is thriving

“Having a massive mix of different understandings, different backgrounds, different view points. It keeps everyone on their toes but it keeps things fresh as well.“
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A West End favourite food spot is branching out and taking business to the South Side. Five March, which has been a staple of Elderslie Road for five years now, is opening a second location inside the established community bar Phillies of Shawlands. Five at Phillies will open on 5 March serving classic bar food dishes across the hub while offering a more refined menu within their designated section of the building. 

Ahead of the launch we spoke to Joanna Nethery, owner and founder of Five March, on what Glaswegians can expect from the new location and why the city’s hospitality industry is thriving. 

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“We’re opening with our friends in the South Side. I’ve been a South Side kid for quite a while now and the scene is just exploding. Quite a lot of the units are small which doesn’t tend to work so well for us just because the food we make is very labour intensive so we have to have a certain amount of turnover to make it work. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense with wages. 

“So, our good friends at Phillies, who we’ve known for years, I trust them which is massive because in business you really have to trust each other. We’re basically going to take a section. In their massive building they already have Curious Liquids in the corner, a super awesome wine shop who are going to do wine lists for us as well. Which is amazing so the wine selection is going to be incredible. We’re going to have this section in the middle and then Phillies are still going to be a bar on the end.

“Opening on the 5th March, obviously because of Five March. We are going to use dishes from here. It won’t be as extensive a menu, obviously people who want the full Five March experience will still have to come here because this is the space we can curate as well as put the food out for. We’ll have a slightly smaller menu but will also have some more bar-driven food. We’ll be doing the bar food for Phillies as well so your burgers, fried chicken sandwich, fried spuds, the things that people seem to go absolutely mad for. So we’ll have a more refined menu as well. It’s going to be a busy month. 

“I think Glasgow’s food scene benefits from a few things. If you look to open a restaurant in London you need millions. It’s not as much if you’re looking to open in Glasgow, as long as you’re prepared to take a risk. We opening this for maybe £150,000 and this building was in trouble. We done a lot of work ourselves, I didn’t get paid for quite a long time. If you’re willing to really just go for it. I know £150,000 is a lot of money but compare it to most other cities and it really isn’t.

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“You really can have a situation in Glasgow where independents can afford not to sell out to anyone, especially independents that aren’t financially backed. You get to do what you want. You know, I don’t need to use certain suppliers or I don’t need to do what people are telling me from behind the scenes which means you have this creative freedom. 

“And because this city is generally cheaper than most other cities it’s just a lot easier for more people, there’s more voices. That’s the key of keeping any scene diverse. Not just for restaurants, any scene at all. Having a massive mix of different understandings, different backgrounds, different view points. It keeps everyone on their toes but it keeps things fresh as well. We kind of have a bit more renegade as well everyone’s just a bit more up for it. It’s great it means the city can just expand without sticking to one demographic being wealthy. Anyone can have a wee go which is quite nice.”

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