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Off the menu: 5 hospitality venues forced to close in the north during pandemic

A line-up of hospitality venues have closed in the north since the start of the pandemic.
A line-up of hospitality venues have closed in the north since the start of the pandemic.

It has been two years since the coronavirus outbreak saw the UK go into its first lockdown, kickstarting a string of hospitality closures.

Nobody could have prepared for the detrimental impact it was to have on the food and drink sector, along with many, many others.

We watched on as well-loved establishments offering a range of different cuisines were forced to close their doors, some of which were based in the Highlands and Islands and are listed below.

As coronavirus restrictions have continued to steadily ease in recent weeks in Scotland, it’s time to not only look forward but think back to the special businesses we have lost over the past two years.

Westhill Chip Shop – Inverness

Formerly situated on Tower Road in Inverness, the owners of Westhill Chip Shop shared on social media that their last day of trading would be on Sunday August 29 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

They wrote: “Unfortunately, we have decided to close the chippy. Two lockdowns and now major supplier issues have taken a toll on us.

“The shop will still be opening after next Sunday, but will be back to being The Codfather. The staff and myself would like to thank all our customers over the past two years, without you all we would have never made it this far.”

Posted by Westhill Chip Shop on Friday, 9 August 2019

Jimmy Chung’s – Inverness

This particular Jimmy Chung’s branch in Inverness overlooked the stunning River Ness and proved a very popular restaurant among both locals and tourists alike.

Inside, you could tuck into an all-you-can-eat selection of Asian cuisine.

It closed its doors not only due to the impact of coronavirus but also the owner’s decision to retire.

Kristoff’s – Forres

Once situated on Tolbooth Street in Forres, Kristoff’s announced it was closing with immediate effect in May 2021 after five years in business.

The bar and restaurant catered to all, offering a varied menu featuring homemade soups, salads, seafood, burgers, pasta, and much more.

With their Facebook following exceeding the 2,000 mark, the closure was a blow to the local community.

The Olive Grove – Inverness

This cafe closed its doors in April last year after the venue sadly couldn’t recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

It first opened in 2009 and was run primarily by volunteers from the church and a variety of other individuals.

The community were saddened to hear the news as it was a place many would meet up for a brew.

The venue was located on the corner of Southside Road where it meets Crown Street and Kingsmills Road.

The Mountain Cafe – Aviemore

Run by Kirsten Gilmour for 16 years, The Mountain Cafe closed to much disappointment early in the pandemic (after the first lockdown).

But the talented entrepreneur turned a negative into a positive by launching a new bakery, known as KJ’s Bothy Bakery, in her home of Grantown.

Born out of lockdown, the business started out as a door-step bakery and delivery service before taking on a permanent base in Achnagonalin Industrial Estate earlier this month.

Kirsten has picked up a number of awards over the years, as well as written a best-selling cookbook and been a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike.

Do you remember visiting any of the listed venues, or recall any fond memories inside them?

Or maybe you know of other venues that have closed?

Let us know by filling out the form below.

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