Terry Laybourne's Bistro 21 Announces Abrupt Closure

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th October 2015
Top restaurant, Bistro 21, in Durham closed its doors at the weekend, in order to focus on new projects within the 21 Hospitality Group.universal-featured The restaurant was part of the 21 Hospitality Group founded by Terry Laybourne who was the first chef to bring a Michelin star to Newcastle in 1998. Bistro 21 had been a part of Aykley Heads since 1996. Sunday 24th October saw its last service. What seemed like a sudden closure to customers, was in fact a plan several months in the making. Nick Shottel, the group’s brand director said “The decision to sell was because our focus has changed. We want to concentrate our efforts on the growing 21 Hospitality Group, especially around Newcastle where just last week we opened two new restaurants.” The decision to close became final to staff last Wednesday. They were encouraged to join part of the team at one of the 21 Hospitality group’s other restaurants around Newcaste; Café 21, Café 21 Fenwick, Caffe Vivo, the Broad Chare and Ko Sai. However, owner Terry Laybourne explains that not all could relocate to work in Newcastle. “I felt that I had to tell the staff, some of them elected to come with us to Newcastle, but some of them didn’t. I understood that some people wouldn’t want to come with us to Newcastle, and so I wanted to give them the opportunity to find something else.” “How it panned out was two members of staff were offered jobs, and they were being pressured to start. They were trying to drag it out until we could get the deal done but in the end weren’t able to. I felt that it would have been incredibly difficult to motivate people or bring anybody else in from the outside.” He said. Customers have also been offered alternative bookings within the group's other restaurants. Nick contacted individual customers who had reservations through to 2017. “I have to say that the customers have been great. I personally called every single booking that we had. I mean some of them understandably have been upset, especially when it comes to wedding parties, but by and large they have been wholly supportive.” Owner Terry Laybourne opened the restaurant almost 20 years ago, and found it hard to let go of the restaurant. “I’ve been there for 20 years, it was incredibly hard for me, it doesn’t normally end on that basis. you’ve just got to move on though. Particularly with these two new ventures happening right now, it just makes sense.”
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th October 2015

Terry Laybourne's Bistro 21 Announces Abrupt Closure