The restaurateur, previously of Tom & Serg, hopes to bring his midas touch to the capital
Sergio Lopez opens Sanderson’s in Abu Dhabi; News from around the GCC; Russo’s Pizzeria plans expansion; More The Noodle Houses coming soon.
A well-established name on the Dubai F&B scene thanks to his work as part of the Tom & Serg duo, Sergio Lopez has set his sights on the capital with his latest restaurant concept Sanderson’s.
For his first venue in the UAE since splitting with former partner Tom Arnel, Lopez has tapped up two of his previous staff, head chef Troy Payne and restaurant manager Sumi Payne, to help create Sanderson’s which focuses on nutritious, sustainable, and balanced food.
Speaking to Caterer Middle East, Lopez said: “I’ve wanted to do something in Abu Dhabi for years, but the Abu Dhabi market is a bit more difficult. You need to find the right location: if you are in the Corniche people from Khalifa City are not going to drive all the way to you, but they will drive to Dubai for the whole weekend.”
Fortunately, Lopez and his team were offered a location at The Walk at Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus Abu Dhabi which they instantly thought was perfect for the type of concept they were trying to open. Something which couldn’t be shoehorned into one box.
Head of the front-of-house team Sumi Payne told us: “This project is a very special one for me as it embodies a lot of the things I love about good food and cafes and restaurants as well. It’s a really balanced menu but it has a very easy, coastal kind of vibe to it.”
Lopez said that Sanderson's is a mix between “Ibiza restaurant on the beach meets LA juice bar” with the name meant to evoke a stereotypical, guy-next-door surname.
While most restaurateurs are looking to Dubai to open their concepts, the Sanderson’s team are excited about taking their skills to the capital, and head chef Troy Payne doesn’t believe that they are going to a culinary backwater.
He said: “Okku started there [Abu Dhabi] and came here [to Dubai]. Zuma started there and came here. There’s a misconception that in Dubai they know about food but in Abu Dhabi they don’t. It’s wrong, they do. They love food up there.”
It’s been almost 18 months since Lopez split with Arnel, in what he says was a “business but also personal decision. In four years we opened seven restaurants, had great success, but sometimes you want to do something that is more personal to you”.
Now he seems to have found that with his new team at Sanderson’s.
(L-R) Sumi Payne, SergioLopez, and Troy Payne