Work of Art: Well-Loved York Bistro Lands World-Class Café Contract at York Art Gallery

Work of Art: Well-Loved York Bistro Lands World-Class Café Contract at York Art Gallery
Yareah Magazine
York Art Gallery (Red Jester Photo),

York Art Gallery (Red Jester Photo),

One of York’s original bistros – Café No 8, has pulled off a masterstroke by winning the tender for the York Art Gallery café partnership, as part of its £8million redevelopment.

The 13-year-old Gillygate café, run by chef Chris Pragnell and Martin Gore – and considered an institution by theatregoers, locals and visitors – will be turning York café culture into a fine art when it takes to the world stage at the art gallery café this summer.

Simply called ‘Café No8 at York Art Gallery’, Pragnell’s team fought off stiff competition to win the coveted contract, and will spend the next six months working with York Museums Trust, designers and architects to put the finishing touches to a state-of-the-art kitchen and seating area at the heart of the new building, which attracts a worldwide audience of visitors.

Managed by the Café No8 assistant manager Gemma Anderson and chef Bee Tegetmeir, the new café will have “the stamp of Café No8” (after all, its sister café is only five minutes walk from the gallery) with a neighbourhood feel, good-value locally sourced ingredients, and a creative fusion of world flavours and traditional classics, offering one-pot pastas, salads, sandwiches and home baked cakes.

“We were surprised and completely delighted to win the tender for the café, particularly as we thought it might go to a bigger chain, but we soon realized the Trust was looking for a local, family business,” says Pragnell. “As the first venture of this kind that we’ve ever embarked on – and being part of a world-class multi-million pound development – is incredibly exciting, challenging and daunting in equal measure! However, we are passionate about the gallery, the city of York and the people who live and work here, so it will be a real thrill for us to take the Café No 8 philosophy and food into a new arena.”

York Art Gallery’s £8 million redevelopment will also bring 60 per cent more display space (with a new mezzanine first-floor gallery), more major exhibitions, new gardens and a Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) to the historic building.

Mike Woodward, chief operating officer for York Museums Trust, said: “We are looking forward to working with Café No 8 to help us establish the gallery as a place to meet and enjoy fantastic art as well as fantastic food and drink. “It has always been our intention to use local companies if possible and Café No 8 is already a well-known name within the city.”

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