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.”

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th October 2015

Terry Laybourne's Bistro 21 Announces Abrupt Closure