Mary Brown’s Chicken, Funstation and new Belfast restaurant Chapter & Verse to open at Odyssey complex this summer

Canadian fast food group confirms location of its first site in Belfast

Mary Brown’s Chicken’s first Belfast venue is set to open at Odyssey Place in June.
Mary Brown’s Chicken’s first Belfast venue is set to open at Odyssey Place in June.

Canadian fast food chain Mary Brown’s Chicken has confirmed it will open its first outlet in Belfast at the Odyssey complex this summer.

It’s one of three new venues announced for the revamped Odyssey Place venue.

Chapter & Verse, a new bar and restaurant being launched by local operator McGuigInns, is due to open in August, while arcade and entertainment specialist Funstation, has signed up for a new unit due to be open by September.

McGuigInns is owned by Belfast businessman Gareth Graham, who is part of the family that started Sean Graham Bookmakers in the 1970s.

Mr Graham’s company Oakland developed the Merchant Square building in Belfast city centre for PwC, which was sold to a Saudi Arabian fund in 2021 for £87m.

Oakland also developed the Room2 aparthotel on Queen Street.

The fit-out of Chapter & Verse is due to begin next week, with the official opening planned for August.

The announcement of Mary Brown’s Chicken’s new 2,800 sq ft Odyssey Place restaurant, which is expected to be open by June, comes just weeks after the fast food group opened its first ever outlet in the UK and Ireland at Lisburn Leisure Park.

It was the first port of call in Mary Brown’s strategic expansion into the Irish and British markets.

Founded in 1969, the Ontario-based company is one of the fastest growing franchises in Canada.

It now has more than 300 units worldwide, and is understood to have agreed leases at multiple locations around the north.

Meanwhile, UK family entertainment group, Funstation, will bring a mix of arcade games, virtual reality gaming, escape rooms and a dessert parlour when it opens in a 10,600 sq ft space later this year.

It joins existing leisure operators Cineworld, Lost City Golf and Hollywood Bowl at the venue.

Investment company Matagorda2, which acquired the long lease for the Odyssey Pavilion in 2016, originally announced a £17 million refurbishment programme in late 2019.

Nandos’s, Zizzi and Five Guys are among the food chains already signed up as tenants for the new look complex.

The latest deals will take the occupancy level to 90%, with Matagorda2 understood to be in advanced discussions with potential operators on the remaining units.

The Odyssey Trust remains the ultimate landlord and runs both the arena and the W5 attraction.

Nicky Finnieston (left) from Finch with Guy Hollis from Matagorda2.
Nicky Finnieston (left) from Finch with Guy Hollis from Matagorda2. (Philip Magowan/Philip Magowan / Press Eye)

Guy Hollis from Matagorda2, said: “The arrival of new family-friendly restaurants and leisure operators is an exciting time for Odyssey Place.

“We believe that the new tenants will further transform the space into a day-to-night destination for family entertainment.”

Finch & McMullen Real Estate advised Matagorda2 on all leasing.

Finch partner Nicky Finnieston said: “After a strong first year since Odyssey Place relaunched last April, we’re delighted to welcome three new tenants to the complex.

“With only a few units remaining to fill, negotiations for the remaining spaces are well underway and should hopefully be confirmed in the coming months.”