Old Town restaurant Stac Polly on sale for £100k

Stac Polly on St Mary's Street is up for sale. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Stac Polly on St Mary's Street is up for sale. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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ONE of the best-known restaurants on the Capital’s culinary scene has been put up for sale.

Stac Polly in St Mary’s Street, in the Old Town, which specialises in homemade-style Scottish dishes, has a price tag of almost £100,000.

Founder Roger Coulthard did not want to comment on the sale, but it is understood there are hopes the eatery will keep its name after changing hands. The Stac Polly name has been a well-known feature on the Edinburgh restaurant scene for over quarter of a century, making the restaurant one of the longest established in the city.

At one point restaurateur Mr Coulthard had three restaurants bearing the Stac Polly name – the original one at Dublin Street, the St Mary’s Street venue and another in Grindlay Street. However, the Grindlay Street restaurant closed in 2011. Its demise coincided with a spate of restaurant closures around the city.

Many were in the “middle market” price range and had struggled to absorb the impact of the recession and competition from cheap nationwide dining chains.

Among the names to disappear were Tony Singh’s Oloroso restaurant in Castle Street, David Ramsden’s Seadogs restaurant in Rose Street and Creelers, once a busy seafood restaurant in the Old Town, which closed after 17 years.

The St Mary’s Street restaurant seats up to 35 diners and includes a private function room. It has recorded a net profit of approximately £59,000 over the last three years of trading.

It is believed the Dublin Street Stac Polly, which underwent a major £50,000 transformation two years ago, will continue in business and is unaffected by the sale.

Owner and chef Mr Coulthard, 52, said at the time of the Dublin Street overhaul that the city’s restaurant scene was under huge pressure from competitors offering special deals on discount websites and cheap food chains taking over prime city centre slots.

“Places are serving good food but can’t make money,” he said. “I ring up a supplier and find they’re busy because they’ve heard a rumour about a place going under and they’ve had to rush out with their van to get their stock before the receivers get there. Everyone’s living on their nerves.”

He complained, too, about the extreme demands of the restaurant trade. “I have a very understanding wife. She doesn’t see me at Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s night, all the important times like ­Mother’s Day, rugby weekends, during the festival – I’m working,” he said.

In recent years Edinburgh has risen to become one of Britain’s food capitals. Along with four Michelin Star restaurants – Number One at the Balmoral, The Kitchin, Martin Wishart and Castle Terrace – there are now reckoned to be at least 1000 restaurants in the city.