York Minster Refectory restaurant now set for early spring opening

The new York Minster Refectory restaurant should be ready to open its doors in early spring.

The brasserie style restaurant is in the Grade II listed former York Minster school, which closed in 2020.

GEM Construction’s chairman Mike Green, joint director and partner in the new venture with The Star Group’s director Andrew Pern, said: “We’ve thrown pretty much everything we’ve got at it since before Christmas and we are now on target to open much earlier than expected.

“We’ve had upwards of 25 building and trades contractors on site throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

“That doesn’t mean cutting any corners as everyone on the project is committed to making York Minster Refectory restaurant building respect its history and create a new restaurant that fits.

“The building has such heritage and integrity, so we don’t want to lose that, and most definitely don’t want to include things that don’t work.”

Restaurateur and Michelin starred chef, Andrew Pern, added: “The new kitchens on the ground floor – food prep, cooking and pot wash areas – are starting to take shape and have come together much more rapidly than even we had hoped for.

“Our executive head chef of the Star Inn the City, Joshua Brimmell, will also now oversee the development of the menu and all food and hospitality functions at the York Minster Refectory.

“This will be an accessible-to-all brasserie-style restaurant café that includes a daytime takeaway element, daytime and evening dining along with a mixture of smaller function, lounge and private dining rooms.”

The front entrance will have a takeaway kiosk offering drinks, cakes and snacks during the day, which can be closed off at night for restaurant dining.

The main ground floor of the restaurant is the space in which school pupils and staff ate their meals and hosted school concerts. It will have an open bar and waiting tables with more than 60 covers.

A new lightweight custom designed bar on the other side of the ground floor will create a distinctive view through a set of period windows out to the Minster.

On the upper floor, which was the school’s old science labs, IT suite and geography room, there will be accessible toilets and an open plan, lounge-type hub and meeting area, with mixed seating and tables, along with spaces for private dining and smaller functions.

Work on the inside of the property is being carried out by Pickering-based interiors company Rachel McLane Ltd.

The building’s period windows will be given a new focus including a raised dining area on one side of the ground floor where the windows are currently hidden within the previous boys’ toilets.

McLane said: “Taking out the old toilets and raising the floor will allow diners to sit and look out to the Minster. The view will be incredible.”