Vikki Wood recalls the journey from opening The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry over a decade ago, to today.
It seems like a long time ago now, but in late 2005 we were looking for a bigger home for our growing family with a third child on the way. We stumbled upon 17 Main St in North Queensferry, and despite my worries that the house was actually smaller than were we were living, we went ahead and bought it!
17 Main St had been a restaurant previously but when we bought it, it resembled an old potting shed with the ‘commercial’ kitchen containing only a cooker switch inside the carpeted and wood-chip-walled room. After two months of renovations and only two weeks after the birth of baby number three we opened The Wee Restaurant’s doors in March 2006.
Craig had worked in hospitality since supporting himself through university by being a kitchen porter at The Maybury in Edinburgh. He worked his way up through the ranks working at Restaurant Martin Wishart, Loch Lomond Golf Club, The Outsider, The Crinan Hotel and on the Royal Scotsman luxury train. And I had worked in psychiatry for 10 years when we decided to take the plunge and become self-employed. A decision made to improve the time we could spend with the children.
At the time our eldest Ethan was 7, Zoe was 3 and Innes was just a wee baby. It was a scary time to double our mortgage with no security from a wage, but we’ve never looked back. From the word go the villagers of North Queensferry were very supportive of the restaurant and word quickly spread of a new place nestled under the Forth Rail Bridge. Over the years we’ve been honoured to see new customers become regulars, and regulars become friends.
In 2015 we decided life just wasn’t hectic enough, so we had an idea to open a Wee Restaurant in Edinburgh. Never ones to hang around on an idea, within a few months we had the keys to 61 Frederick St. There have been a few times over the past two and half years that we have asked ourselves “what have we done?”, but in general it’s been a great experience. It all seemed a bit easier the second time around, we learned from the mistakes we made the first time. And not being pregnant/new parents helped massively!
Over the years there have been several tweaks to both restaurants from just learning on the job but also taking into account feedback from customers. Our ethos has always stayed the same. We want to serve simple good food and fine wines in a relaxed atmosphere. We are a family-run restaurant who care about service, quality of produce and the cooking of Scotland’s seasonal offerings.
We work with staff who are passionate and have the same outlook. Along with our fantastic staff we have more of the Wood family now working in the restaurant. Little 7-year old Ethan has grown up and is now at university. After working as a pot washer initially for pocket money, he came front of house 5 years ago and is now the part-time Assistant Manager in Edinburgh. Zoe is almost 17 and works part time in the North Queensferry restaurant when not studying for her Highers. Little baby Innes has turned 12 and has been pot washing to help pay for a trip to Alton Towers. Sophie, our niece, joined the front of house team part time in Edinburgh team at the start of the summer and is thoroughly enjoying it. She has been squirreling away her wages to help pay for a trip to South Africa with school.
We’re also proud to have Kirsty, Sam, Debora, Adelin, Joshua, Louis, Simba, Nikki, Mikey, Roberto, Adela, Radek, Isabelle, Keri and Siobahn working alongside us. We love our big ‘Wee Family’.