La Mirage is a highly popular and well known restaurant located within the Sutherland village of Helmsdale. The current owners have upheld the tradition and maintained this restaurant as a very profitable business enjoying a healthy trade from both locals, travelers from Caithness as well as the many tourists who frequent the area in the Summer Months. A large poster in the window reflects a testament from TV chef Clarissa Dickson Wright which featured in the Field magazine voting La Mirage as number two in her top six fish and chip shops in the UK. This is only one of the many articles and accolades written and granted in recognition of this unique and successful operation which has also featured on TV and radio. The restaurant has been recently refurbished and is now reflective of the owners’ style, diners find themselves having fish, chips and mushy peas under the palm tree in the center of the room or next to some lively mannequins and artwork.
The sale of La Mirage forms three main parts:
La Mirage is the main restaurant with 10 tables of various sizes to accommodate some 48 covers, as well as ladies and gents facilities.
“Simply the Best” which is a Fish and Chip Shop – hot food takeaway attached to the restaurant with a private access from the main street.
Four bedroom flat which is on the first and second floors, with generous lounge, kitchen/diner, shower room and some office space which has been recently refurbished.
All supported by a very spacious and well laid out commercial kitchen located to the rear of the main restaurant and takeaway facilitating ease of service.
Located on Dunrobin Street in Helmsdale, the restaurant is in good order, and close to a car park with access down to the river. The Staff are welcoming and the excellent Trip Advisor ratings are testament to both the staff and the food. Quality is important, as is attention to detail, and the present owners, although not fully hands on, ensure that this is maintained. The cuisine is mainly that which you would find in a good fish and chip shop with added extras of steaks, sumptuous seafood dishes and other simple options which is what the customers expect. Turnover and profitability are reflective of a successful operation and new owners could quite easily maintain and grow these figures by continuing in this vein. A small motivated team of some 9 full and part time staff support the operation.
REASON FOR SELLING
Now retiring to pursue other interests the present owners have owned and operated this business for some 15 years. After operating with no previous catering experience whatsoever, they would thoroughly recommend this lifestyle to new motivated owners from any background.
Helmsdale is a Sutherland coastal village steeped in history and with a strong maritime tradition. The village boasts a good level of local amenities for both visitors and residents. Helmsdale is situated on the A9 which forms part of the popular North Coast 500 route, drawing in many new and unique visitors to the Northern Highlands. The area is renowned for its gold panning at Kildonan and has an association with Viking history drawing in a great many tourists, the Timespan visitor attraction within the village depicts the regions diverse history. The village has approximately 750 inhabitants and is one of the main centres of population in Sutherland. It also has an excellent links golf course and is in easy reach of the famous course at Royal Dornoch which lies to the south. The region is also renowned for its whisky production, with distilleries in Brora, Wick and Tain.
For the outdoor enthusiast the Highlands of Scotland are famous for spectacular scenery and rugged mountains, a reputation which is comfortably upheld by Helmsdale. The wonderful un-spoilt surrounding hills, attractive lochs and waterways combine to make this an enchanted area. The region draws in a high number of visitors in the summer months with both shooters and fishermen taking up accommodation in the off-season. For walkers the beautiful Sutherland terrain offers varied degrees of challenge from the more leisurely hillwalking to more stretching mountaineering. A wide range of birdlife attracts the ornithologist and the area has a huge appeal to the naturalist. The rivers within the region (the Helmsdale and Naver) appeal to large numbers of sports fishermen looking to catch trout or salmon. Additionally, in the vicinity there are many self-catering accommodation providers, hotels and guest houses whose patrons in turn generate trade for all the services supported by the business.
Two and a half storey building, with front and back entrance and a single storey to the rear. This single storey extension comprises part of the restaurant as well as outside stores. These back on to a small self-contained courtyard. There is also a large commercial kitchen on the ground floor with pot washing and excellent food preparation areas, along with a store for wet and dry goods and an area for housing fridges and freezers, plus staff facilities. Externally there is a spacious storehouse facility with a concrete floor that is used for the preparation of fresh potato chips with a potato rumbler and mechanical chipper. This facility benefits from electric power and water.
Restaurant with street access, comprising ten tables and seating for approximately 48 covers. La Mirage opens daily at 11am Mon-Sat and from 12noon on a Sunday. Last orders are taken at 8.45pm. Ladies and gents facilities are located to the rear. Open year-round with the exception of a two week period in January. There is a display chill unit for sweets.
SIMPLY THE BEST
The takeaway named Simply the Best has its own entrance from Dunrobin Street, serving quality fish and chips and a range of takeaway food. Open year round except for a couple of weeks in January when a deep clean is performed, the hours of operation are 11am Mon-Saturday until 9-9.30pm and on Sunday 12 noon until 9pm. The area comprises of a service counter, drinks chiller and freezer for ice creams etc. The fryers usually on display in a chip shop are concealed in the kitchen, these are 7 years old and from Middletons. An excellent extraction system is in place and vented externally at the rear of the property. There is a small seating area for two or four persons.
Four bedroom flat with a separate entrance from street level, a flight of stairs lead up to the first floor which comprises a lounge with access to kitchen/diner and through to ancillary offices plus two large bedrooms with sinks and a newly fitted family shower room. The whole property has been recently double glazed and is heated by propane gas, with boiler located on the second floor. Also on this floor are two further bedrooms. The flat will include all furniture and contents upon sale of La Mirage. There is plenty of scope here for a beautiful family home, or as a letting property or potential to operate on a B&B basis, to take advantage of the North Coast 500 tourists who frequent the village.
The commercial kitchen is located immediately to the rear of the main restaurant facilitating ease of customer service. This exceptionally well fitted out workspace comes complete with top quality facilities, utensils, refrigeration units and food preparation aids. It has an effective extraction unit, hard flooring and meets the highest standards both in facilities, cleanliness and output. The kitchen has a dry goods store and immediate access to the rear of the property to enable ease of deliveries etc. External storage and workspace are also accessed from here. The premises are fully compliant with Environmental Health and Fire Regulations with modern detection systems.
Access to the rear of the property is via a gated alley which leads into a small courtyard where the external storage and work areas are located. Parking is available on street level or in the conveniently located riverside car park with both ladies and gents WC.
The subjects benefit from mains electricity, propane gas, water and drainage. The business is fully compliant with fire requirements. There is a modern and highly effective extraction system in place. Mostly double glazing. The business benefits from The Highland Council Small Business rates relief scheme.