Landlord of White Horse & Griffin in Whitby gives jobs to entire staff of Robin Hood's Bay restaurant Bramblewick Fish and Grill after it closes during lockdown

The owner of a popular fish restaurant and guesthouse in Robin Hood's Bay has announced that his business will close due to the impact of the pandemic - but that the staff will move onto a new challenge.

The White Horse & Griffin in Whitby

Michael Coates who is also the head chef of Bramblewick Fish and Grill, and his sous chef Thomas Locker will take over the kitchen at one of Whitby's oldest pubs, the White Horse & Griffin, in partnership with landlord Ed Henbury, who has also given jobs to two other Bramblewick employees.

The B&B side of the business, which is located in a 17th-century building, will honour bookings until May 31 before closing.

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Mr Coates admitted that the pandemic had sounded the death knell for his restaurant: "With a heavy heart and great regret, we must confirm we have had to take the difficult decision not to re-open our restaurant following the latest period of lockdown. It has become impossible for us to continue. We have done our best to support our staff and their livelihoods, but the devastating effect of Covid-19 has brought us to this unfortunate conclusion.

The Bramblewick's chefs have relocated to the White Horse & Griffin in Whitby

"Our accommodation will continue for current bookings until May 31. We would like to thank all of our wonderful customers for your support over the last four years.

"But we're really excited to announce that we have found a new home. From May 17 Michael, Tom and the rest of the team will be taking up residence at the White Horse & Griffin, 87 Church Street, Whitby where we'll continue to deliver the highest standards of cooking, using the very best of local produce, in a relaxed and unfussy style.

"It was a very difficult decision not to reopen the Bramblewick after the last lockdown, but after almost a year without any income, it was no longer financially viable. Joining Ed and his team is perfect timing as my team bring a new dimension to the White Horse & Griffin and Ed has given the Bramblewick team a new lease of life.

“We’ve curated a quality but simple menu to achieve what we think will be high numbers to get us through the very busy summer ahead. Then in the autumn, we’ll step it up once again to bring the full Bramblewick experience to Whitby.”

The Bramblewick

The White Horse & Griffin dates back to 1681 and was the first coaching inn built in Whitby to serve travellers from York and London. Explorers such as James Cook and William Scoresby used the inn to recruit their crews.

The collaboration will mean that the White Horse & Griffin's traditional pub menu will be replaced by a new dining offer reflective of the skills of Mr Coates, Mr Locker, commis chef Robert Kirton Hudson and kitchen porter Finn O'Leary.

Instead of burgers and fish and chips, there will be a strong emphasis on fresh seafood.

Champagne, oysters and 'catch of the day' specials will be served until 9pm on the pub's new decking area next to White Horse Yard due to the relaxation of licensing rules following the re-opening of hospitality.

Mr Henbury, whose business is now part of the Great Inns of Britain group, said: "There’s no escaping the fact that this has been a very challenging time for the hospitality industry. As small independent business owners, the last year has been a real struggle as we’ve had to pivot our businesses, lean heavily on the furlough scheme and business loans.

“It’s really sad that a fine restaurant such as the Bramblewick has had to close its doors but we’re delighted to welcome Michael and his Bramblewick team to the White Horse & Griffin. They’re the perfect fit for our style of fresh seafood, offering great service and value for money."

However Mr Henbury withdrew an application to Scarborough Council to place another four tables at the rear of the premises to accommodate 16 further customers after 47 residents living nearby submitted objections to the plan.