From an old victualling hub to a vibrant new home for Hub Box, the much-loved South West purveyors of mighty fine burgers has officially opened its 11th eatery, a new Plymouth flagship restaurant at Royal William Yard – and the result is a sight to behold.
The historic space has been transformed to create a bar and 180-seat restaurant, with seating indoors and outside overlooking the waterfront. With both style and substance, the new restaurant successfully blends the building’s proud past and awe-inspiring architecture with the cool, coastal interior that Hub Box is known for.
The new 3400 sq. ft waterfront restaurant is based on the ground floor of the Melville building – the Yard’s iconic Grade I listed centrepiece – and follows years of careful planning and skilled renovations to bring it back to life and fit for the future. Hub Box is the first business to open in Melville following the massive regeneration project.
Led by Urban Splash, over five years the expert team sensitively restored the derelict building, protecting and preserving many original features. The project has been supported by Historic England and drawn on the talents of award‑winning design partners and architects, Devon-based Gillespie Yunnie Architects, alongside project managers WWA, and construction specialists atelierBUILD.
Transforming the impressive interior, the Hub Box design team, made up of Macaulay Sinclair and Amy Boon, has brought its signature unique and vibrant style to the Yard with eye-catching touches like a wall made from a recycled shipping container, a retro-style mint-green fridge behind the bar, and candle holders made from recycled beach clean debris!
Dedication to design
A celebration of all things local, the interior is inspired by South West coast and surf culture, with light and fresh tones, and showcases local artists, makers and suppliers throughout. Striking artwork by Plymouth-based contemporary artist, Stephen Smith, lines the walls and was inspired by the concrete architectural landscape of urban Plymouth.
The contemporary art sits alongside bold neon signs – and in stark contrast to bare brick walls and original wood panelling, complete with flaked layers of paintwork, which gently reminds visitors of the building’s heritage. It’s a similar story underfoot; the original flooring finish has been retained to make the most of the existing feature.
The light and fresh décor is echoed in the paint and fabric colours, striking touches including woven basket light shades that are ethically sourced and made by cooperative makers, and a profusion of plants – courtesy of Plymouth’s Nook Houseplants – which adds to the eco-friendly aesthetic.
Every opportunity to reuse, recycle and repurpose has been seized to create a stunning but sustainable style. The joinery for the back bar is made from recycled oak planks. Table tops have been made with reclaimed oak by Inside Out Furniture. The kitchen pass wall is made from recycled shipping container components. Even the toilets come complete with reclaimed doors! And the vast majority of the furniture is original mid-century period vintage by Merchant & Found.
The team has sought out ethical and eco-friendly elements at every turn. For example, the Knoll fabric used for the banquette seating is created from recycled polyester. Tiles to the bar front are Eco Brick by H&E Smith, made out of recycled slate dust. Some table tops are made of a terrazzo created from recycled wood chips.
Creating an impression overhead, scraplight pendants by Graypants are handcrafted from recycled cardboard. And true to its Cornish roots, Hub Box has looked to Fowey-based LIGA Eco Store to source its tea light holders, which are made from a combination of natural cork and recycled EVA plastics retrieved from beach cleans.
This sustainable and local ethos is reflected in the food and drink offering, with suppliers ticking the box as having shared values, high ethical practices, and providing sustainable local produce. Burgers made with traditionally-farmed grass-fed cattle come from Cornish neighbours, Philip Warren in Launceston; hot dogs hail from award-winning artisan makers Rare and Pasture in Devon; fries are hand-cut in house using potatoes from Colwith Farm in Lostwithiel; and drinks from independent breweries, including draught vegan beer from Falmouth brewers Verdant, Bodmin-based Harbour Brewing Company, and Newport’s finest, Tiny Rebel.
Mere metres from the waterfront in Royal William Yard’s marina, being beside the seaside is central to Hub Box’s origins. Starting up in St. Ives harbour, it now boasts restaurants across the South West and Wales and plans to keep growing. A local success story, the new restaurant is a venue with a difference and visitors can now book and experience it for themselves.
If the grand building and inspiring interiors weren’t enough to tempt foodie fans, Plymouth’s new Hub Box has launched with a mouth-watering menu of delicious burgers, fries and sides. The menu also covers plant-based diets, gluten free options, and a comprehensive kids’ menu, so all tastes and needs are covered.
The new Hub Box team is in place and welcoming visitors. Recent recruitment days have seen 40 roles created and filled in front of house, bar, kitchen, and management. It brings a boost to the local hospitality scene and offers career opportunities with one of the South West’s coolest and creative restaurant brands.
Richard Boon, Founder and CEO of Hub Box, said: “This has been a passion project; taking a historic building, respecting all that makes it special, and bringing our distinct style to make somewhere totally unique. We’ve embraced the coast and local area – in look, feel and the suppliers we’ve worked with. We know customers will love the setting, service, and – of course – our signature burgers, barbeque, beer and good vibes.”
Emily Jones, Commercial Director of Urban Splash, said: “Hub Box opening its doors as the first business in Melville is a really proud moment for us, and testament to a huge amount of work by a dedicated team to turn a derelict building into a home for an incredible and inspirational local independent business. This is a place with almost 200 years of history, and it now has a new lease of life. The Yard is a special place to visit and it just keeps getting better.”