Award-winning Yorkshire Meatball Company announce closure of its Harrogate restaurant

David and Gareth Atkinson
David and Gareth Atkinson

The award-winning Yorkshire Meatball Company has announced the closure of its Harrogate restaurant just one month after launching their recipes in national supermarkets.

A message posted on the company's website said they would be permanently closing the business "until further notice" following difficulties in recruiting staff.

The company said this was due to to the influx of chain restaurants into Harrogate but stressed they were hoping to return in the "not-too-distant future".

The statement read: "The closure of the restaurant business is particularly disappointing for us, considering the years of planning and hard work that went in to ensuring the concept was a success.

"However, this decision will allow us the time and focus required to make the national launch of our retail Balls a success… ensuring as many people as possible, all across the UK, are able to enjoy our unique taste of Yorkshire!

"Most importantly, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your custom, your support and your encouragement.

"We hope you will understand our decision and continue to support us as we embark on the next phase in our exciting journey!"

Father and son team David and Gareth Atkinson launched the businesses' first site in Harrogate two-and-a-half years ago at Station Bridge, describing themselves as the first specialty meatball and craft beer bar.

The restaurant had already taken steps to combat the arrival of a number of town-centre chains when they announced in July that they would be closing for refurbishment.

Speaking in July, co-owner David Atkinson said the restaurant would expand to become a more relaxed, casual bar offering.

He said: "Whilst healthy competition is always welcome, the huge number of high street names coming to the local area cannot be ignored.

“What these restaurants bring with them is a sharp peak in wages, particularly for chefs, and this is something that small independents, like us, can struggle to compete with.

“As a result, it’s important that independent sites like ourselves are proactive in ensuring their concepts remain commercially viable, in what is an increasingly challenging employment environment.”

In September, the company celebrated the news that their unique meatball recipe were now being sold by supermarket giants Tesco and Asda.

The news sparked an announcement that the business was to take a "short break" in service at their Harrogate-based restaurant with plans to reopen in October.

However, the company stated that they were unable recruit enough staff for their front of house and kitchen team to compete with the chain restaurants.

The statement continued: "We will, without a doubt, miss serving our Balls to you, and certainly hope to return with a food service concept in not-too-distant future.

"Operating the restaurant for the past two and a half years was a fantastic experience, made so much better by the smiling faces we were given the honour of welcoming through our doors!"