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Wick arts festival food from the 'Old Groat Building'


By David G Scott

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A major arts festival starting today in Wick will have speciality dishes served up by the new owners of the former John O'Groat Journal premises.

Karen and John McMaster run The Printers Rest restaurant and take-away from the iconic building on Cliff Road and have sealed a deal to serve up tasty food for the Northern Lights festival produced by Lyth Arts Centre. The event will run from today (October 8) to Saturday October 16 and will host a variety of free shows that includes a huge puppet procession through the town.

The former office of the John O'Groat Journal is now called The Printers Rest. Pictures: DGS
The former office of the John O'Groat Journal is now called The Printers Rest. Pictures: DGS

Northern Lights is strongly focussing on local food and drink, showcasing local suppliers and sustainable seafood. Running throughout the festival, The Printer’s Rest Pop Up will provide food by the harbour that has been "inspired by the Caithness coastline".

Karen said: "We've worked with Lyth Arts Centre quite a bit in the past and they approached us to provide food and we're really happy to be involved.

Karen and John McMaster run The Printers Rest restaurant and take-away on Cliff Road in Wick. Pictures: DGS
Karen and John McMaster run The Printers Rest restaurant and take-away on Cliff Road in Wick. Pictures: DGS

"On Monday when the puppet is on its circuit through the town, we'll be doing a pop-up outside the old herring mart and serving there from about 5.30pm until around 8.30pm or sooner if we run out. We're planning on doing a couple of paellas which will work well outside for this type of event."

On Friday, October 15, The Printers Rest will host a special festival dinner evening at its premises with a set menu that will be seafood specific.

Karen makes a sweet Spanish treat called churros at the café.
Karen makes a sweet Spanish treat called churros at the café.

"All the bookings will be handled through Lyth [Arts Centre] and we're currently in the process of finalising the menu. It all should be really good fun," said Karen.

The couple's former business was the award-winning Whaligoe Steps Cafe a few miles south of Wick which had seasonal opening times.

"Primarily, we're focussed in being in this building and unlike Whaligoe, that would shut in the October, we intend to stay open all year round. It was solid work for a year before we opened here and we think it's been worth it."

The Printers Rest has a varied menu and specialises in fresh pasta, pizzas, fried and peri-peri chicken, salads and soups. For those with a sweet tooth there are freshly made churros and crêpes. The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday for take-away or eat-in.

Apart from the restaurant there is a yarn shop, photography studio and glass studio incorporated into the building.

Related article:

Spectacular art festival includes 10-metre tall goddess walking through Wick Harbour


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