To many, ‘The Shambles’ is often a general term used in reference to the winding narrow streets and snickets which make up this city’s map and which give York its infamous humble charm. But at the heart of the city lies the street which actually holds the name Shambles. This street, which was once home to the butchers of York, has now become a hub of independent businesses making the most of their unique location on what is now the most visited street in York. From food and drink to shopping and lifestyle, here we take a look at just how much the Shambles has to offer, introducing you to the doers, bakers, and miniature ghost makers that are working together to keep these streets’ magic alive.
FOOD & DRINK
Flax & Twine
Katie and Maureen established Flax and Twine in 2012; making the most out of their ever-so-quaint 1700’s premises on the Shambles the pair have created a successful combination of cafe, shop and creative hub. On the ground floor you’ll find the shop, an eclectic range of antique homewares and vintage finds fills this space from wall to wall. On the second floor sits their cafe selling traditional cream teas galore, and finally their third floor which houses their ‘creative hub’. This space can be booked out as a creative space for freelancers and artists or privately for special occasions; it’s even been used for a proposal!
Los Moros has sat in the Shambles food court since 2015, since then Owner Tarik Abdeladim has lead Los Moros on to win multiple awards, and in 2017 Los Moros beat every other eatery in York – including high end restaurants – to become the number one rated eatery on TripAdvisor. Tarik has perfected his small but mighty menu of Moroccan and middle-eastern cuisine, which includes street-style dishes such as Persian chicken wraps served with harissa and saffron mayo, pickled beetroot slaw, wild rocket and summac. With the ongoing success of Los Moros’ market stall, Tarik was able to permanently house a new restaurant of North African cuisine on Grape Lane in 2018.
Owner Simon Long opened the Shambles Kitchen in 2005, and created what can only be described as the perfect place for the people who are after “a quick bite to eat”. On the ever-so busy Shambles, the Shambles Kitchen offers a small but sturdy menu of, put bluntly, exactly what you want for lunch; including pulled pork burgers, beef brisket pastrami hot sandwiches, and Cajun halloumi wraps. And what’s more, the profits go directly to their school smoothie bar project ‘Xing’, which provides pupils with all the equipment, training and produce to set up a permanent or ‘pop up’, student led smoothie bar in schools.
Shambles newcomer Sapori opened its doors in August this year to the good and hungry people of York. Sardinian owner Francesco Pischedda moved to York five years ago and has always dreamt of owning his own restaurant; he has created Sapori to be as authentically Sardinian as possible, all of the staff including the chefs are Sardinian and the same goes for the decor, and of course the food. The venue serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as coffee and cakes from neighbouring York’s Nelson Bakery.
Ye Olde Pie and Sausage Shoppe
Ye Olde Pie and Sausage Shoppe has been housed on the Shambles since 2009, and sells exactly what it says on the tin. Established by husband and wife team Rob and Julie, the pair combined their experience of Julie’s work in business, and Rob’s work in a slaughterhouse to create arguably one of the best pie shops in York. Rob arrives at the shop at 4:30am to whip up batches of over 10 flavours of pie to be displayed in the window that day. And of course, we can’t forget the sausages; alongside their eclectic range of pies they also sell over 14 varieties of sausage such as garlic, parsley and fennel seed, or spicy lamb sausage with harissa paste, chilli and garlic.
Krep Crepes & Galettes
Serving up authentic French crepes and gelattes (savoury crepes) to the hungry punters in the Shambles food court, owners Tomasz and Marco have created some of the tastiest and healthiest fast food York has to offer. In what might be considered as a sweet-toothed country, it may come as a surprise to learn that gelattes prove to be the start of the show here at Krep, but when possible fillings include oak smoked salmon, potatoes, dill, and remulade French style coleslaw, I don’t think anyone is likely to question.
It was the close-knit community of York which drew owners Nicky, and Al Kippax to leave their London lives in persuit of their dreams to own a bakery in this city which they were so fond of. The pair have gone on to open bakeries in Malton, Kirkgate Market in Leeds and of course, Little Shambles. The bakeries belong to a family of “real bread” independents, and is a member of the Real Bread Campaign, which means that all of the loaves meet the charities criteria: naturally yeasted, long fermented, hand shaped loaves.
SHOPPING & LIFESTYLE
Another Shambles newcomer, the York Ghost Merchants opened its doors this August. Angus McArthur, who owns design shop Snowhome on Gillygate, is the brains behind the business; for a while Angus had been trying to come up with an alternative approach to traditional souvenir shops. Instead of the usual key rings and caps, Angus decided to create miniature ghosts as a tribute to York’s haunted history. Made using non-toxic material, the ghosts come in two different sizes and each ghost is entirely unique in its colours and patterns.
Monk Bar Chocolatier
One of the longest standing chocolatiers in York, Monk Bar Chocolatiers are renowned in this city for the quality of their handmade chocolates. The shop is owned and run by, Ray Cardy and his son Alan. Ray was taught his craft by his brother-in-law in America, whilst Alan earned a qualification in chocolate making in the chocolate capital, Belgium. Together, they make over 60 different varieties of chocolate, including ganaches and truffles, as well as their signature hot chocolate which you can take away hot!
The Hebden Tea Company
After a short stint in Hebden Bridge, the Hebden Tea Company relocated to the Shambles in 2011 and have proved to be a success amongst tourists and locals alike. As one of the few buildings on the Shambles with an opening window, Owner Okan Ok has made full use of this space and offer free tea samples directly from their window, proving to be a very successful asset. Okan is of Turkish descent, and although Turkey is yet another world leader in its tea consumption, Hebden Tea Company was actually based off Okan’s memories of German tea shops that he visited as a child. Hebden tea stock an assortment of different teas, from the familiar camomile to the more adventurous blooming tea balls.
The Potions Cauldron
An ode to the Shambles’ common comparison to Diagon Alley, Phil Pinder opened the Potions Cauldron in 2018 hoping to create an entire experience for customers. Phil and the team at The Potions Cauldron have cleverly crafted an extensive range of magical drinkable potions; flavours include serpent’s venom, the tears of a wizard, unicorn’s essence and basilik blood.