A RESTAURANT chain has launched its first "community concept" restaurant in Sussex.

The Horsham branch of Ask Italian has reopened following renovation and is the first of its kind.

Ask said it is putting the focus on the community and plans to roll out the new concept in all restaurants across the country.

It has collaborated with residents and producers to create a “sustainably focused space” and a menu “designed to bring the people of Horsham together”.

The Argus:

Ask Italian has worked closely with Horsham artisan producers to add a local twist to the menu. 

Horsham Spirit Gin now features in its Lemon Drop Spritz cocktail and there is a selection of locally brewed Firebird beers.

The revamped menu also supports the food bank Horsham Matters through donations and volunteering.

The Argus:

Horsham-born artist Sam Flylightly was commissioned to create artwork throughout the restaurant, celebrating the town’s shared features with the picturesque Italian town of Lerici. 

Sam has also created portraits of Horsham heroes including the town’s literary great Percy Shelley and digital content creator Katie Kirk. She lives with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which causes very flexible joints and fragile skin, and blogs to raise awareness of the condition.

The Argus:

The refreshed menu supports Ask Italian’s sustainability goal, urging customers to make dish swaps to reduce their carbon footprint of meals. 

Working with Foodsteps, an environmental food consultancy service, the restaurant is allowing customers to see the impact of switching to plant-based options.

The Argus:

General manager Rafik Saoud said: “Horsham is a special place with a whole mix of people coming together in the town. 

“We’re so proud to be reopening our restaurant with new features that celebrate our locals and can’t wait to hear what they think. 

“I love Sam’s artwork on the walls leading upstairs and would personally recommend the new cheese fondue which really looks special. 

The Argus:

“It’s great to get Firebird on the menu as our guest beer to celebrate what they are doing in the community.”

To celebrate the launch, Ask Italian is hosting an event with Horsham fundraisers and business owners, who will be invited as one of the first to enjoy the restaurant on Thursday.

For more information visit: https://www.askitalian.co.uk/