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York building inspires million pound investment

Banyan York exterior
Martin Wolstencroft, Managing Director of Arc Inspirations LLP, the Leeds based company that owns 8 bars in Yorkshire, has announced his newest venture: Banyan York. The York location is the second Banyan bar serving food in the Arc Inspirations’ portfolio and follows the success of the Banyan Bar & Kitchen in Harrogate.

With an investment of £1m in the construction and refurbishment of the 161 year old chapel on Little Stonegate in the centre of York, Banyan York is set to launch in early July 2013. Arc Inspirations are currently recruiting for 50 new jobs to fill their full staff requirement at all levels, including managers and supervisors, serving and kitchen staff. Executive Head Chef John Richold will lead on the food and will bring with him experience gained at Banyan in Harrogate. With 212 covers, Banyan York will offer food from breakfast to early evening and its ethos of using seasonal ingredients and local suppliers wherever possible will hold true in York as it does at its Leeds and Harrogate locations.

Plans were given the go ahead by the City of York Council in December 2012 and work has been ongoing since then. Following its most recent incarnation as part of the Borders store, Arc Inspirations is keen to retain the building’s stunning architectural features many of which have been hidden for years and which include a listed staircase which will be one of the main features of the bar. Refurbishment work also includes use of each of the three levels, with the original chapel providing a ground floor, mezzanine, each with their own bar, and the library which used to host the ‘choir’ which will offer a smaller space for exclusive use. A crafted ‘Banyan tree sculpture’ will reach from the ground floor to first floor level. The £1m price tag includes some internal construction work, but much of the budget will ensure the interior is one of the most exclusive and sumptuous bars serving food in the north of England. Set to become a destination bar in the North, Arc Inspirations has announced that this extraordinary York venue will be their flagship bar.

Martin Wolstencroft says: ‘With some 7 million visitors to the city each year, its responsive resident and business community, and existing lively nightlife, we recognised that the city could provide us with a terrific opportunity for one of our award winning Arc Inspirations venues. However, we wanted the right building with something just that bit special so we had to wait until the right property became available.

On Little Stonegate, we are also within an area of the city that boasts some superb independent bars and restaurants and Banyan York will need to compete with some of the best in the city. We will enhance the food and drink offer throughout the day, as well as into the evening, so we can cater for a broad range of customer. We’re confident that Banyan York will be an asset to the city and one of the North’s premier destination bars.’

In March this year, Martin was included in the Bar Magazine’s Top 50, a list of the most influential bar owners in the North of the country by one of the leading hospitality publications. Chosen by a panel of industry experts with many years experience in the northern hospitality sector, the 50 on the list were commended for making a significant impact in their businesses, driving commercial and critical success, creating employment, training and investment, as well as creating a profile and prestige for the region and its hospitality sector.

Banyan York opens to the public on Friday 12th July 2013.

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