At last we know what will replacing The Willow on Coney Street

Empty for a long while… what was the Willow above Clinton Cards. Photograph: YorkMix
16 Jan 2018 @ 7.28 pm
| Food & drink

Since York’s most eccentric and best-loved nightspot The Willow was kicked out of its Coney Street home, the city has waited to see what would replace the irreplaceable.

It has taken a long time for an answer to come. Chinese restaurant and disco The Willow closed in July 2015 – to emotional scenes.

And only now has a new tenant been found for its old home in the rooms above Clinton Cards.

Yorkshire café

How the rooms will look according to plans submitted to York council

Family-run bakery business Cooplands has submitted plans to turn the first floor of the Grade II listed building into a café.

The Scarborough-based company plans to open one of their Secret Garden Cafés in the premises.

It already runs similar eateries in towns including Pickering, Driffield and Bridlington.

The York version would boast 160 seats, including bench seating around an oak pagoda feature.

If approved, plans submitted to City of York Council would see the distinctive window frames painted olive.

There will be new signs which have been “carefully designed to preserve this designated heritage asset, and to enhance its character and appearance as much as possible”, the application states.

It adds: “Before it was vacated, this first floor space was occupied by the Willow Restaurant.

“Internally, it is understood that the interior of the first floor appears to have been gutted and refitted with 20th century wall linings, new floor covering throughout…

“The proposal is designed to meet the operational needs of a cafe and to create a more welcoming environment for the customer.”

Food and prices

Gone but not forgotten

The Secret Garden menu doesn’t include a single prawn cracker.

Instead prices start at £1.62 for a pot of tea, and £1.80 for a cup of coffee with milk (or £2 for a mug).

Cakes start from £1.15, and an all-day breakfast is £4.20. Sandwiches start at £2.60, and main meals like corned beef hash and chicken curry cost £5.15.

Meanwhile you can still meet up with Tommy Fong and his wife Soo, the team who delivered the Willow nightclub experience for so many years.

They now run an antiques shop on Walmgate.