Spring is well and truly here. As the weather improves and the streets begin to fill up, York is quickly coming back to life. Now that lockdowns are (hopefully) a thing of the past, new businesses are starting to pop up across the city, with some old favourites expanding. Below, we share some of the latest openings – so whether you’re looking for a local bakery, want to enjoy a drink with friends or even buy some cool matching stationery, you’ll know where to go in York to try something new.
Cosgriff & Sons, Fishergate
Sourdough specialist Paul Cosgriff opened his bakery on Fishergate last November and it’s been doing a roaring trade ever since. The perfect place to pick up a freshly baked morning loaf, you’ll also find some more unusual options on offer here, including a 20% rye bread and porridge and malted seed loaves. If you have more of a sweet tooth, the cakes and pastries are sure to tempt – look out for seasonal treats with a twist, such as their mouthwatering hot cross buns made with treacle and stem ginger.
Cat in the Wall, The Stonebow
An atmospheric cafe-bar that doubles as a performance venue, Cat in the Wall is one of the latest additions to York’s ever-growing arts scene. The bar features a dark, luxurious interior with velvet sofas in jewel tones and large-scale art, making it a refreshing new spot in which to catch up with friends over lunch or cocktails. Visit in the evening to watch live music and poetry or to take part in a writers’ open mic night.
Yemen Heaven, Walmgate
It’s been a challenging couple of years for Mona Al Maflehi, the owner of Yemen Heaven. Her original restaurant in Holgate Road closed during the Covid-19 pandemic and the new premises it was set to move to was vandalised, resulting in thousands of pounds worth of damage. Following a community fundraising campaign, the Middle Eastern restaurant has now reopened and it’s been well worth the wait. You can relax here amongst the faux palm trees while listening to Arabic music, or even try shisha in the outdoor lounge. The menu is filled with authentic Yemeni dishes, including Shaffout, a spicy yoghurt salad, and the delicious dessert Masoub, made with shredded bread, honey, bananas and cream.
Ham & Firkin, Acomb
Due to open later this year, Ham & Firkin is a wine bar and bistro run by Ashley and Matthew Hyde – the husband and wife team behind popular local catering business Baba Ganoush. The restaurant will revive a small piece of York’s history as it takes its name from a pub on Walmgate that closed 99 years ago. The new Ham & Firkin aims to bring something different to Acomb with a menu of substantial gourmet dishes to sit down and savour. Visit in the daytime to enjoy a welcoming and family-friendly environment, or book a table in the evening for a more sophisticated fine dining experience.
Dedicated solely to brunch, Rise on Fossgate boasts a menu packed with options to suit all diets and preferences – from breakfast rolls to feel good bowls. The restaurant provides a colourful environment in which you can linger over the most important meal of the day. Help yourself to recover after a heavy night out with steak and eggs, or the delicious cherry and almond french toast. You can also enjoy a nutritious homemade smoothie.
Frango Eduardo, Supersonic Gym, The Stonebow
In 2022, York’s homegrown chicken restaurant will leave Spark to move into the Supersonic Gym in Stonebow House. The restaurant was founded by foodies Ted and Emma who wanted to create a simple, authentic Portuguese menu when they launched last year. Now, after moving to their new home, they plan to expand the limited menu to include more mains as well as plates of pesticos. Frango’s fans shouldn’t worry though – you’ll still be able to enjoy their classic piri piri chicken served with Portuguese tomato salad or tasty slaw.
Aly’s Bakery, Gillygate
Founded by Turkish chef Ali Acikgul, Aly’s Bakery serves sweet and savoury baked goods, along with a range of hot drinks. A well-established chef back in Turkey, Ali has previously run his own culinary school and plans to offer workshops at the bakery in which he’ll share his expertise. Call in to try scrumptious desserts, including custard tarts, eclairs and what has been described as the ‘best cheesecake ever’.
An aesthetically-pleasing haunt for stationery lovers, Avorium on Colliergate sells sustainable, matching desk accessories in a range of bold and pastel shades. Run by siblings Tom, Georgia and Olivia, the shop is the first physical store for a business that’s also booming online. Avorium’s carefully considered collection includes diaries, coasters, mouse mats and even plant pots, so minimalists can deck out their office in style. Many of their products can even be personalised, making for an extra special gift.
Freckleface Fragrance, The Shambles
Ethical fragrance brand Freckleface was born in 2017, when mum Tara Carlile-Swift helped her young son Noah to turn their hobby into a business. Now, their products are stocked by hundreds of retailers across the country and sold in their own high street stores, the fourth of which is set to open soon on York’s Shambles. A visit to Freckleface is a real treat for the senses, as you enjoy the brand’s unique scents such as coconut and sea salt and cranberry marmalade. In their York store, you’ll find a range of ways to fragrance your home, including candles, wax melts and diffusers, as well as their luxurious bath bombs.
Wild & Westbrooke, Stonegate
Family-run fashion retailers Wild & Westbrooke opened their Lendal store in 2018 and are now about to open a second on Stonegate. The shop’s founders, Laura, Tanya and Ollie, took inspiration from living in the countryside to curate a selection of high-quality clothes and accessories that are timelessly stylish and capable of enduring many years of wear. Brands include Fairfax & Favor, Emu Australia, Holland Cooper, Dubarry and Hicks & Brown. Whether you want a pair of wellies or a smart new hat, this is the place to look.
Country Traditionals, Colliergate
Due to open their third UK store in York this year, Country Traditionals sell handcrafted Polish stoneware featuring decorative patterns in indigo and white. Their stores stock a variety of tableware, including plates, bowls and cups, as well as many other ceramic home accessories – from door knobs and candlesticks to egg cups and pet bowls. As all of their designs can be easily mixed and matched, pieces from Country Traditionals are great for those who want to build up a collection over time.
Images: Country Traditionals, Cosgriff And Sons, Rise, Yemen Heaven, Avorium