STEAK LOVERS – and others – are in for a treat as the new Buffalo Creek Spur in Borrowdale (at Sam Levy’s Village just next to the cinemas) opened its doors to sit down diners a few weeks ago on 23rd March. Located in the old News Café site, the Spur is situated conveniently for cinema goers, shoppers and families looking for a great meal. While Spur has built their reputation on steaks and burgers, they also offer salads and vegetarian friendly meals and decadent desserts. The restaurant is fully licensed too. Although development was completed and the restaurant was ready to open a while back, in April 2020, Spur elected to keep the doors shut for almost a year until the lockdown restrictions were partially eased. They are still only operating at 50% of their seating capacity and under restricted opening times, in line with the new Covid regulations. The restaurant has a seating capacity of 180 diners, inside and in the outside seating area. They are currently open from 8am until 7pm, daily, perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The trading hours will be reviewed once regulations are eased.
Spur Steak Ranches has a history in Zimbabwe, with restaurants that had closed unfortunately, some years ago. In 2020 local food giant, Simbisa, was excited to re-launch the Spur franchise in Zimbabwe with the development of Buffalo Creek Spur in Harare. Simbisa’s expansion strategy includes opening Spurs in other locations in the future. The Simbisa Group includes a number of well-loved QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) outlets such as Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Baker’s Inn, RocoMamas, Nandos and more across Zimbabwe. They have a wealth of experience and expertise in the fast casual dining business. With such skilled backing and support, Buffalo Creek Spur is bound to succeed! The Spur Corporation started out in Cape Town in 1967 when Allen Ambor opened the Golden Spur in Newlands. From humble beginnings the simple steakhouse restaurant has grown into the Spur Corporation which now includes Spur International, Spur Steak Ranches, Panarottis Pizza Pasta, John Dory’s Fish Grill Sushi, The Hussar Grill, RocoMamas, Spur Grill & Go and Casa Bella. It currently has 569 outlets worldwide, with restaurants in various parts of Africa, Mauritius, the Middle East and Australasi.
Structure and Design was lucky enough to meet up with Maarten Pienaar, Regional Operations Manager for the Spur Corporation for the whole of Africa, at the new Buffalo Creek Spur. Pienaar was here to oversee the opening of the restaurant on 23rd March and stayed on over the Easter holiday to ensure that everything is running smoothly to Spur’s stringent international standards. He assured us that the Borrowdale restaurant is certainly on par with the group’s other outlets around the world – in terms of the interior design and layout, the menu, the presentation and the service. The interior layout and décor of the restaurant was drawn up by South African company Design Concepts in line with the Spur restaurant building and décor specifications. This ensures that all Spur outlets have a coherent theme and a similar image and that the kitchens, serving areas and seating arrangements are of a consistently high standard. In keeping with Spur’s image as a family restaurant nearly all Spur restaurants have a supervised play area for kids that is safe and fun – perfect for kids’ birthday parties or just to keep the little ones occupied while the adults enjoy their meals. Design Concepts also specify décor items like the themed light fittings and the Native American inspired artworks. Local company A. M. Machado Building Contractors were selected as the main contractors for the re-fit as they have a great reputation for both construction and complex shopfitting projects. (See Structure and Design issue 29 for examples of Machado’s shopfitting at CIMAS’s new headquarters in Borrowdale.) The exterior of the new restaurant has almost the same footprint as the old News Café except that the southwest corner, which was formerly enclosed with canvas drops, has now been enclosed in aluminium and glass with a Chromadek roof, and incorporated into the interior space. The outside dining deck was pre-existing although it’s been spruced up with new floor tiles. Inside the restaurant is radically different. The old News Café fixtures and built in fittings (including the kitchen) were demolished to accommodate the new layout. Floors were stripped, new raised sections for seating were built and the whole space was retiled. Floor tiles are set out in a square pattern for most of the open walking and serving space while the seating booths have tiles in a different colour or set out in a herringbone pattern to demarcate various areas and different uses. Planter boxes and partition walls for the seating booths were added as well as the built in serving counters which separate the kitchen and the bar area from the main restaurant. A new reception and cashier’s desk were added to the entrance to create that well-known Spur welcome. Exposed brickwork and timber cladding on sections of the walls adds textural interest. An interesting detail that’s unique to this branch is the embossed Zimbabwe bird set on the wall above the long bench seat adjacent to the play area. The existing bathroom facilities were completely gutted and refitted by Machado who installed new tiles, sanitary ware and custom made Meranti doors. There’s an interesting tile design in the bathrooms – small triangular sections at the tops of the walls have been clad in timber strips in contrast to the wall tiles. The glass and aluminium partitioning for the kids’ play area was added to ensure the young ones’ safety in a controlled space, while still being able to see out and to be watched by their parents. The partitions also help keep the noise down! New suspended ceilings and bulkheads were installed together with new air conditioning ducts and vents and a new electrical layout for the lighting plan. The suspended ceilings and the aluminium windows and doors were supplied and fitted by Postcorp Aluminium and Glass. The electrical plan also meant that new DB boards were needed with the electrical work done by Cypriano Electrical under sub-contract to Machado.
The lights consist of downlighters, spots and themed hanging pendant lights which together with some exposed timber beams and decorated dropped bulkheads add warmth and cosiness. Most of the interior furniture – booth seats, chairs and tables – was imported from Spur’s South African suppliers, although Machado needed to assemble some of it and make repairs where goods had been damaged in transit. The reception desk was sent up too, but Machado adapted it slightly to create a perfect fit. The kitchen was completely relocated from the old News Café layout and set up in an open plan layout so diners can see their food being prepared. It’s all part of the experience and the theatre of the dining experience, and as the regional manager said, “We’ve got nothing to hide!” The kitchen fittings – grillers and fryers, fridges and freezers and all the other necessary apparatus, including the extractors and dishwashers – were all imported from South Africa and are standard Spur equipment. Machado oversaw all the new plumbing, electrics and gas installation for the kitchen and cold rooms. The result is a fantastic new venue that’s sophisticated, but also family friendly and conforms to Spur Corporations high class international standards. The menu offers something for everyone and it’s reasonably priced too. Buffalo Creek Spur is situated at shops 1, 2 and 3 Sam Levy’s Village near the cinemas. Call: (024) 2884311 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: BuffaloCreekSpurZimbabwe
text: Michael Nott | photos: Structure and Design