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The Old Liquor Store York marks first anniversary with celebratory events

The Old Liquor Store (OLS), which is set in the historic Grade 2 listed former Terry’s Chocolate Factory, is gearing up for anniversay celebrations following its opening in July 2023. To mark the milestone, the restaurant is staging a factory workers special event on Thursday 27th June involving a six-course tasting menu themed around classic British canteen food with a modern twist – in a nod to the venue’s manufacturing heritage.

Accomplished head chef, Matt Leivers, has devised a series of nostalgic culinary delights which will tantilise taste buds and conjure memories of old. The line-up includes:

  • “Pack up” – truffle cheddar and OLS pickle toastie, cider soused crab apple, cheese ‘n’ onion scratchings
  • “Brew and biccie” – Earl grey smoked duck consommé, liver parfait and sour cherry jammy dodger
  • “Fish supper” – brew York beer battered cod cheek with mushy peas, butter chicken curry sauce, salt & vinegar chips
  • “Pie ‘n’ mash” – minced beef & barolo braised oxtail pie, caramelised onion gravy, brown butter mash
  • “Terrys Chocolate Orange” – milk chocolate delice, Cointreau
  • “Steamed sponge with pink custard” – Limoncello steamed sponge, Makins strawberry

Tickets are priced at £70.00 per person with an optional drinks pairing at an additional £30.00 and bookings can be made here.  The full menu with drinks pairing is available here.

Entertainment will be provided by the professional and highly acclaimed pianist, Karl Mullen, who has a versatile repertoire spanning hundreds of songs from classical to rock-pop, jazz and blues and promises to add a theatrical touch to the celebratory experience. Since 1999, Karl has been a familiar sight locally and can frequently be heard playing his upright piano by York Minster and around the city’s streets.

Plans are also afoot for a spectacular summer party on Saturday 20th July, which will likely feature a selection of great British BBQ staples as well as live entertainment.

Since its entry to the foodie scene in York following a £350,000 refurbishment project, the restaurant has garnered a loyal following with locals and is fast becoming the ‘go to’ place for relaxed, fine dining. The bustling Italian influenced restaurant, café, wine bar and deli, offers a fusion of contemporary small plates and sharing platters as well as breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday roasts.

At the helm of the Old Liquor Store is veteran, Ben Williams, who started his career in prison service hospitality on a graduate training scheme devising operational procedure manuals for prisoner food and shopping. Having acquired the Rose and Crown in Sutton-on-the-Forest at the age of 21, he transformed the business into a fine dining gastro pub, achieving an accolade from Michelin and two AA Rosettes, before relocating to London then returning to his home city.

Ben explained: “The restaurant was more than two years in the making, but I’m thrilled with what we’ve achieved so far. It’s been an honour to bring back to life such an iconic building which lends itself perfectly to providing an inviting backdrop where people can relax and enjoy fine food. We’re looking forward to welcoming guests to our anniversary events where they will be able to experience a little bit of history and taste modernity here at the new Old Liquor Store.”

The kitchen is headed up by renowned local chef, Matt Leivers, who has over 10-years’ experience in some of the UK’s finest Michelin-accredited restaurants. His focus is on using Yorkshire produce to create Italian-inspired cuisine, a modern take on classic tapas and sharing plates. The evolving menu changes regularly to make the best use of seasonal ingredients and offers tasty, high-quality dishes. Matt’s signature dessert of terry-misu – a further note to the former chocolate factory – features on the menu for special occasions so will be making a reappearance during the celebrations.

All dishes and accompaniments are created in-house including the warm amaretto biscuits served with coffee to the butters, breads, ice cream desserts and posh baked cannellini beans. Matt is joined by sous chef, Jack Wheatley, and this venture marks the fifth kitchen they’ve worked in as a team over the last 10 years.

The Old Liquor Store is nestled between York Racecourse and the award winning Bishopthorpe Road and the name pays homage to its confectionery heritage. Located in what was originally the Transformer House, it’s widely believed that this was subsequently used to house coffee beans and barrels of rum imported from America for chocolate making, with the rum being added to the truffles in Terry’s All Gold boxes.

Following a sympathetic refit, the property remains steeped in history, providing an atmospheric dining experience. Working with renowned designer, Banjo Beale (winner of the BBC1 series Interior Design Masters in 2022) the building has been restored and repurposed to ensure the décor maintains most of the building’s architectural features and reflects its manufacturing and confectionary legacy. The original tiling has been retained and walls are adorned with photographs and memorabilia donated by former Terry’s Chocolate Factory employees.

The dog-friendly restaurant is open Wednesday to Saturday, serving brunch, lunch and evening meals (10am – 9pm) and Sunday 12-4pm for roasts. The Old Liquor Store runs monthly tasting events. Group bookings for pre-race brunch and post-race dinner can also be made.

Reservations can be made by visiting

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