North-west chef-restaurateur Paul Heathcote has put his flagship Longridge Restaurant and Cookery School in Preston, Lancashire, up for sale after nearly 22 years.
The move to put the former two-Michelin-starred restaurant on the market is the latest in a string of sales from the triple Catey winner, who has blamed poor trading for the decision to dispose of the restaurant.
Heathcote, who sold the majority of his restaurant portfolio to Living Ventures two years ago, is now left with just two restaurants: Heathcotes Brasserie and the Olive Press at Winckley Square in Preston, as well as his catering company, Heathcotes Outside.
"It is a long time and I have enjoyed every minute but there is a time when it is right. There are other opportunities I want to pursue," Heathcote said. "Business has not been great and I have continued to support Longridge personally and with my other restaurants at Winckley Square. The staff will be offered positions there or within the outside catering locally."
Heathcote first opened the Longridge Restaurant, formerly called Paul Heathcote's, in 1990 and the restaurant gained a Michelin star in 1992. In 1994 it became the North's first holder of two Michelin stars, an accolade the restaurant retained for four consecutive years. In 1998 it dropped back to one-Michelin-star-status before losing its star in 2003 and being relaunched as the Longridge Restaurant.
Heathcote said that after more than two decades it was time for a new chef to take the reins at Longridge. "Anybody who does the same thing for 22 years could become stale and that would be sad so reflecting on everything we have done and achieved at Longridge over a very long time is something I should feel proud of," he said.
"It is a small business and is great as a chef-proprietor for someone to make their mark, which is how I started. But there are many other larger projects I am looking to test myself with."
The Longridge Restaurant & Cookery School is being marketed by Christie & Co.
LONGRIDGE RESTAURANT TIMELINE
1990 Paul Heathcote's opens
1992 Michelin star and Newcomer of the Year Catey
1994 Second Michelin star and Egon Ronay Chef of the Year award
1997 Independent Restaurateur of the Year Catey
1998 Returns to one Michelin star
2003 Loses Michelin star and relaunches as Longridge Restaurant
2009 Heathcote puts restaurant up for sale, takes it off the market after four months and appoints former head chef and manager Chris and Kathy Bell to run it
2011 Appoints Hywel Griffith as head chef
2012 Puts restaurant up for sale
By Kerstin Kühn
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