'It's been a labour of love' - Family search for new owner of popular automotive themed restaurant near Boston

A Rolls Royce-themed eating area at V-ATE, Sutterton.A Rolls Royce-themed eating area at V-ATE, Sutterton.
A Rolls Royce-themed eating area at V-ATE, Sutterton.

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The family behind a popular automotive themed restaurant near Boston have announced their decision to sell the business.

Victoria and Neil Burden, along with Victoria's parents, Bob and Lesley Wilding, the directors of V-ATE Smokehouse, have today (Tuesday, April 30) revealed they are searching for a new ‘custodian’ of the distinctive eatery.

The business is based of the A17/A16 roundabout at Sutterton.

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It follows what the family describe as ‘seven years of dedication and heartfelt committment’, and comes as Victoria and Neil embark on a ‘new chapter’ in their lives – moving home and ‘focusing on other projects while ensuring V-ATE finds its ideal custodian to nurture its growth further’.

Inside V-ATE Smokehouse, of Sutterton.Inside V-ATE Smokehouse, of Sutterton.
Inside V-ATE Smokehouse, of Sutterton.

In a joint statement, the directors said: “Since its inception in August 2017 in Langrick near Boston, V-ATE has been more than just a restaurant; it's been a labour of love and a testament to the family's passion for hospitality and Americana culture. In September 2020, the restaurant moved to its current location in Sutterton, marking a significant milestone in its journey.“Under the leadership of Victoria and Neil Burden, V-ATE evolved into a vibrant destination, culminating in the addition of Duckpin bowling lanes in February 2023, expanding its identity into a hospitality and leisure brand. The commitment to investing in people led to the successful qualification of five chefs, a front of house manager, and the nurturing of a digital marketing apprentice, underscoring V-ATE's dedication to its team's growth and development.”Despite the decision to sell, Victoria and Neil assure customers and the community that it is ‘business as usual’ at the restaurant. The menu, staff, and day-to-day operations remain unchanged – a reflection, they say, of their ‘confidence’ in the ‘talented’ team and the ‘enduring appeal of the V-ATE brand’.

The statement continued: “Looking ahead, the Burdens envision a bright future for V-ATE, with opportunities for expansion, whether through franchising, new locations, or the reintroduction of breakfast offerings.

“They express their hope that the restaurant's next custodian shares their passion and commitment to the brand's ethos of creating memorable experiences for families and individuals alike.“V-ATE is now listed for sale with brokers Bruce and Co., offering a unique opportunity for a passionate entrepreneur to take the reins of this beloved establishment. The Burdens stand ready to support the transition and eagerly anticipate seeing V-ATE continue to thrive under new leadership.”

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The statement closes on a personal note, with the directors writing: “As they bid farewell to V-ATE, Victoria and Neil Burden extend their deepest gratitude to their loyal customers, dedicated team, and the local community for their unwavering support throughout the years. Their legacy lives on in every aspect of the restaurant, from the iconic car tables to the warm hospitality that defines the V-ATE experience.”For enquiries regarding the sale of V-ATE, contact Bruce and Co.

A mixed grill sharer.A mixed grill sharer.
A mixed grill sharer.

V-ATE began life in what was a function room at the Witham and Blues New York-style restaurant and grill at Langrick, with the distinctive furniture being created out of old vehicle parts.

The Witham and Blues was run by the same family as V-ATE, but closed in August 2022 amid global and domestic financial challenges.

Last year, V-ATE was shortlisted for two Destination Lincolnshire Tourism Awards – the Taste Lincolnshire Award and the Unsung Hero Award.

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Brand manager Katie Calder won in the Unsung Hero category and is now in the running for a national honour in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

On Instagram, V-ATE has more than 5,000 followers; on Facebook, the count stands at 33,000.