Cheltenham's GL50 fine dining restaurant closes

Cheltenham's relaxed fine dining restaurant, Jonas at GL50, has closed this August 2023, with chef Jonas Lodge urging diners to support independent venues to save others from the same fate.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Jonas Lodge, the chef behind Cheltenham's much-loved GL50 restaurant, is urging diners to support local independents to save others from facing closure.

Cheltenham fine dining restaurant, Jonas at GL50, has closed its doors this August 2023. 

In a statement on Jonas at GL50's Instagram, published on Wednesday 23 August 2023, owner and chef Jonas Lodge and his partner Timea said: 'That's it! After three and a half years the going has gotten too tough. Me and Timea Lodge would like to thank every single guest who has come through the doors and let us look after them.

'We want to thank the staff past and present for making this place so amazing. Closing is sad but I'm very proud of what we achieved.

'Thank you and good night.'

The restaurant has been headed up by the award-winning chef, who previously worked for the likes of Raymond Blanc and Heston Blumenthal, for the last three and a half years.

GL50 was recognised in the Michelin Guide in April 2023 and changed its format to a tasting menu only with a maximum of 16 people per night in June 2023, but it wasn't enough to secure the restaurant's future. 

Lodge said: 'People just aren't going out to eat. I can't speak for all, but we used to do 100 covers a week and were down to 40. Spend per head has dropped by around 25 to 30 per cent this year.

'The change of context, going to tasting menu only, was a good idea, but maybe too little, too late. Even with only 16 covers, we still weren't full. 

'It's baffling. It has been the most universally liked place I've ever worked. Everyone I've spoken to said it was the best meal they've ever had, yet still I've closed the restaurant.'

Lodge believes more needs to be done to support independent businesses and has joined the likes of Purslane's Gareth Fulford to call on Cheltenham MP, Alex Chalk, to provide more help for the hospitality sector. 

'It needs to be highlighted to the government, otherwise all of the small independents will disappear. We already have tax breaks and they're only really helping larger chain restaurants.

'The help we received during Covid was lovely, I'd have been closed otherwise. But this is a different crisis. Income is being used up in other areas, so of course people aren't going for as many meals out, whether at a chain or an independent. People are going out less.'

The chef also urged diners to get out there and support their local independents as much as they can, to stop other restaurants facing the same fate. 

He said: 'People need to go out and eat in small independent restaurants, whether they're cafes, fine dining or middle of the road. Just go and eat in a small independent place. It makes all the difference.'

While GL50 is now closed, Lodge has hasn't ruled out the option of doing pop-ups, if the right opportunity arises, but is keeping his future plans close to his chest.

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