Edinburgh restaurant Hendersons celebrates 60 years since vegetarian institution opened in Hanover Street

Edinburgh institution celebrates 60 years serving vegetarian and vegan food
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A renowned Edinburgh restaurant is celebrating six decades serving the people of the Capital. Hendersons opened its iconic basement restaurant at 94 Hanover Street 60 years ago, focusing on ethos of wholesome vegetarian food. Now in Bruntsfield Links, the establishment is marking the occasion with a series of summer events.

Grandson of its founders Barrie Henderson said: “We are really excited to get together with everyone to celebrate this milestone, as we look forward to the future, to develop and grow. It’s never been more important than now to make sustainable food choices and we hope you will join us soon.”

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Janet and Mac Henderson first launched Hendersons Shop in 1962, with the basement restaurant opening its doors in ‘63. There you could find vibrant vegetable-laden plates being served to people from all walks of life – from counter culture hippies to the affluent New Town clientele – in simple surroundings with only fruit boxes for seats. The restaurant was visited by celebrities including Tilda Swinton, Woody Harrelson, Sir Ian McKellen, and Dylan Moran.

The Hendersons team are celebrating 60 years in Edinburgh. From left to right: pastry chef Jordana Mazza Machado, owner Barrie Henderson, front of house manager Laura Dall'Era, bartender and front of house Cath SmithThe Hendersons team are celebrating 60 years in Edinburgh. From left to right: pastry chef Jordana Mazza Machado, owner Barrie Henderson, front of house manager Laura Dall'Era, bartender and front of house Cath Smith
The Hendersons team are celebrating 60 years in Edinburgh. From left to right: pastry chef Jordana Mazza Machado, owner Barrie Henderson, front of house manager Laura Dall'Era, bartender and front of house Cath Smith

But the iconic Hanover Street site closed its doors, seemingly for good, in the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020. There was an outcry from the community, but fortunately Hendersons returned in a new location, with an updated venue. Thirty eight year-old Barrie, who worked with his family at the old restaurant, couldn’t let the legacy of his grandparents die, so got together some of the team from Hanover Street and organised a reboot in the space previously occupied by The Apartment.

Headed up in the kitchen by Paul Kane from Hendersons Vegan and James Porteous – formerly Wedgwood and the New Chapter – the team of talented chefs, along with the front of house led by Laura Dall’Era, created a number of new dishes, cocktails and more to try, sourcing nutritious plant-based ingredients to enjoy in sustainable organic surroundings.

Hendersons’ owners are passionate about sustainability and avoiding plastics as much as possible, returning packaging to the fruit and veg suppliers to be reused. The back garden of the restaurant is also used for composting food waste, growing herbs, edible flowers and some vegetables, as well as a beautiful fig tree.

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This summer, the Hendersons team is hosting a series of events to thank customers. There will be an introduction to foraging in collaboration with award-winning foragers Coeur Sauvage, a wine tasting event lead by sustainable wine specialists Alliance Wine, a barbecue in the back garden, charity fundraising and the return of some of the musicians who played at the old restaurant for live music evenings.

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