String of closures hits food and beverage sector

A trio of North and East Yorkshire businesses have closed down over the festive period.

They include Keelham Food Hall, in Skipton – previously known as Keelham Farm Shop – the Aagrah Restaurant, also in Skipton, and the Pig & Whistle bistro and tapas bar in Beverley.

Keelham Food Hall’s latest accounts, filed in 2022, showed it employed 145 people. The business has filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator.

The closure has also hit the firm’s on-site restaurants – the Keelham Kitchen and Knead Pizzeria – as well as the Kind at Keelham fitness centre, according to a statement on Keelham’s Facebook page.

It explains: “Unfortunately due to financial situations, the decision has been taken at least for the moment to close Keelham Food Hall, Keelham Kitchen, Kind at Keelham and Knead Pizzeria.

“There is hope that a new buyer will step up and continue the shop and re-employ a great deal of the staff.

“But these things don’t happen overnight, unfortunately, so please bear with us.

“I’m sure further details will be released as they become available.”

The farm shop in Skipton was launched in 2015 by sister and brother team Victoria and James Robertshaw. It was a second unit for their original Keelham farm shop in Thornton.

The two farm shop businesses separated in 2019, with the Skipton business sold to investors in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Skipton branch of Aagrah Restaurant is to shut its doors on 6 January. The premises, in Coach Street, has been advertised to let for several months.

Finally, The Pig & Whistle, in Beverley, which has previously been featured as one of the Top 100 Best Places to Eat in the UK by the Times and also made it into The Good Food Guide in 2019, has confirmed it will have to close for good.

Chef and owner, James Allcock, confirmed the news on social media, stating: “I have never been so battered in this business by other factors, with nearly £40,000 of Covid debt still looming, an energy bill nearly 4x that of its previous total and a staffing crisis that I’m happy to take responsibility for but one has just become unmanageable, unsustainable and unworkable.

“It is therefore with great sadness that I have taken the difficult decision to close the Pig & Whistle in its current form.”