Popular York café to expand into city’s revamped art gallery

York Art Gallery. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
27 Jan 2015 @ 12.00 pm
| Food & drink
York Art Gallery pictured before its temporary closure. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Acclaimed city bistro Café No 8 will run the York Art Gallery café when it reopens after the building’s £8 million redevelopment this summer.

Owners Chris Pragnell and Martin Gore have turned their Gillygate café into a culinary haven for residents and visitors alike since it opened 13 years ago.

That experience helped them land the tender for the York Art Gallery café partnership.

To be called Café No 8 At York Art Gallery – what else? – the new eating place will have a neighbourhood feel.

Having lived in France, Holland and the Czech Republic – and with a dad that worked in India for a time – chef Chris has brought the flavours of many different continents to bear on the menu at Café No 8.

He says the art gallery menu will offer a “creative fusion of world flavours and traditional classics”.

Using locally sourced ingredients dishes will include one-pot pastas, salads, sandwiches and home baked cakes.

The art of good food

Popular: Café No 8 on Gillygate
Café No 8 on Gillygate
Chris and his team will spend the next six months working with York Museums Trust, designers and architects to put the finishing touches to a state-of-the-art kitchen and seating area at the heart of the new building.

Managed by the Café No 8 assistant manager Gemma Anderson and chef Bee Tegetmeir, the art gallery café will be a chip off the Gillygate block (a locally-sourced chip of course…).

We were surprised and completely delighted to win the tender for the café, particularly as we thought it might go to a bigger chain, but we soon realised the Trust was looking for a local, family business.

As the first venture of this kind that we’ve ever embarked on – and being part of a world-class multi-million pound development – is incredibly exciting, challenging and daunting in equal measure!

However, we are passionate about the gallery, the city of York and the people who live and work here, so it will be a real thrill for us to take the Café No 8 philosophy and food into a new arena.

– Chris Pragnell, Café No 8

There’s more to the art gallery redevelopment than a cracking caff, of course. The new look version will boast 60 per cent more display space, a new mezzanine gallery, beautiful gardens and the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA).

But it is important that the gallery has a great place to eat and drink, says Mike Woodward, chief operating officer for York Museums Trust:

We are looking forward to working with Café No 8 to help us establish the gallery as a place to meet and enjoy fantastic art as well as fantastic food and drink.

It has always been our intention to use local companies if possible and Café No 8 is already a well-known name within the city.