Richard and Lindsey Johns, the husband and wife team and co-owners of Rascills restaurant in Raskelf, York, have confirmed that their business closed in January after struggling with low footfall and lack of local support.
The restaurant, which was listed in The Good Food Guide 2018 and was the recipient of a Michelin plate, formally closed at the beginning of the year, but plans had been in place to close the site for several months.
Richard and Lindsey Johns said: “It was always the location in Raskelf, which led to our decision to finally close the business last summer after fulfilling our lease obligations.
“We understood very early on that the location was the Achilles heel, despite receiving fantastic support from many new and long-term customers who travelled to us from East Yorkshire and further afield. Despite all the reviews the business just couldn’t gain enough traction necessary to make it a viable, long-term venture.”
The pair noted that while destination restaurants like Tommy Banks’ Black Swan at Oldstead had managed to take off, they had not experienced the same sudden lurch towards success.
They added: “It was soon realised how other small, independent operators had previously struggled in the area, including the Black Swan at Oldstead, before their fortunes eventually changed.
“It was crystal clear that Rascills were towing the same line. There was no illusion or burying heads in the sand with it. Ultimately, there simply wasn’t enough of the right local target market to make the business worthwhile. Something we misjudged totally, despite our previous experience.”
The couple opened the 24-cover restaurant near Raskelf in November 2016 on the site of the former Purple Partridge, with Richard in the kitchen and Lindsey overseeing front of house. The Johns previously ran Artisan restaurant in Hessle, East Yorkshire, for nine years
In October they tweeted that the business had “naturally run its course” and they had decided to pursue an “exciting” new opportunity after coming to the end of their two-year lease.
However, it is unclear how these opportunities have developed, with the couple adding: “The point has now been reached whereby it is clear suitable funding, additional help or joining forces is the only way forward for us to hopefully fully compete on the playing field we and others have always suggested.
“There is significant skill and experience from us to be drawn on and needs channelling correctly. With that in mind we are positive of the future and genuinely feel the best is yet to come from ‘Team Johns'”.