A HEAD chef at one of Glasgow’s ‘hidden gem’ restaurants is raising money in order to become an independent business once he is given the go ahead to reopen.

Liam McAlpine has worked for the last 10 years at the Balcony Café, located at the top of Glasgow Climbing Centre, and is now looking to take it on as his own business.

The café, which also runs the Flava Bomb pop up restaurant, closed in March during lockdown and has been unable to reopen due to being part of the Climbing Centre, situated on Paisley Road in Ibrox.

Now, Liam has launched a Crowdfunder to collect donations so he can take the business on as his own and has been met with an overwhelming response.

“I knew we were loved, we’ve always had a big following and a strong sense of community, but this has been more than I was ever expecting,” Liam explained.

“The comments on the post have been amazing and in only 21 hours we’ve already reached 33% of our target.

“I really couldn’t believe it.”

Liam entered talks with the owners of the Climbing Centre about becoming independent and they were encouraging from the start.

Liam said he was grateful for the support he has received from In Extremis, the owners of the Ibrox attraction.

Liam said: “The bosses have been brilliant from the start and they guaranteed that we were covered before lockdown happened.

“They made sure all of us were still being paid and that we were safe through the pandemic and they’ve been so supportive of me and the café, it’s really been brilliant.

“The guys went way above and beyond and it’s been great to see.

“Taking the café as my own has been something I’ve thought about for a while, it’s been a dream of mine and with the help of the public we can see it become a reality.”

The Balcony Café also runs the Flava Bomb Project Kitchen pop up restaurant which has been a sell out event since they started running the events.

The event features five set tasting courses which are kept secret until the night of the event.

The Balcony Café has played host to these events which see a sell out turnout each month and will be a permanent fixture when Liam reopens the café as his own.

He said: “The Flava Bomb has always been such a popular event and it is so close to my heart.

“It is such a fun project that we all put so much time into and it is great to see that it’s a hit with customers.

“I’m looking forward to opening the café again when it is safe to do so and welcoming customers back.”

Donations can be made on the Crowdfunder website and is available for four weeks.