A distinctive York restaurant has reopened after it suddenly shut last month.
Forage on Little Stonegate is back trading under new owners.
YorkMix reported in August that the restaurant had ceased trading, with the decorative flower and foliage removed from the exterior of the building.
But now it’s back open, after being bought by Tokyo Industries. It operates 47 venues across the UK, including Impossible Bar in York.
Forage general manager Alex Hart explained that closing was a “nightmare scenario”.
“Myself and the rest of the staff were unfortunately given no warning which made it all the more difficult,” said Alex. “It was especially difficult for myself as it happened just two days after my wedding!
“Issues with the owners’ other businesses led to our initial downfall.
“It has definitely been intense turning the business around for reopening. However it’s been really nice to see that a majority of the previous staff have decided to stay on with the business.
“The brand and the product have always been great and we all believe in it so much, hence why we have all stayed.”
The team is smaller than previously at around 19, but it is comprised entirely of returning staff – including head chef, Keiran Duffy.
Forage was previously owned by founder and mixologist Callum Houston.
Alex said that the process of reopening with Tokyo Industries has been “relatively easy”.
“They are a big structured company with a lot of stuff already in place,” he said. “Definitely a big adjustment from working as an independent business.
“However we are still aiming to retain that independent feel as we will be the only Forage – for the foreseeable at least!
“Tokyo was very eager to get us open as soon as possible as they were very conscious that a lot of staff were out of work.
“Their main focus was really on helping the staff and ensuring they could return to work as soon as possible. It has been great to see how much they care about the team.”
The concept behind Forage will remain the same, with an elevated take on tapas that takes inspiration from a wide variety of countries and cultures and focuses on in season ingredients – that the chefs often forage for themselves.
The restaurant is also eco-conscious and tries to minimise kitchen waste by using the normally discarded parts of produce in inventive ways, such as creating infused spirits.
The reception to the reopening so far has been fully supportive.
“We have had many people tell us that they are so glad we are back open as it was a favourite of theirs,” said Alex.
“We have received a lot of support, especially from York residents. Which is so heartening to see and only reinforces our belief that we can truly drive the restaurant to be something great!”
And now the team is looking forward to the future.
“We are looking forward to just pushing Forage as much as possible and really taking the brand to new heights.
“The concept and the food itself are really fantastic and I would say quite unique within York.”
The opening hours for the kitchen are currently Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm to 9pm, and 12-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
For drinks, Forage can be open as late as midnight during the week and 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. The opening hours may be slightly revised in the near future as head chef, Keiran Duffy, is currently working on a new brunch menu.
Forage’s website and social media accounts are currently still under construction, and at the moment the restaurant is mostly operating on a walk-in basis – however people can book in person at the restaurant.
Though the name, branding, and concept will remain the same, Forage “are operating as a new business and therefore have no affiliations with the previous owner or with Forage as it was.
“Instead we are hoping to really make the brand our own and to really grow it as a permanent establishment in York.”