It will be business as usual at one of Belfast's top restaurants despite a court order to wind up the company that runs it, the Belfast Telegraph understands.
A petition to wind up Oregano Belfast Ltd – which owns The Potted Hen at St Anne's Square and Oregano in Newtownabbey – was presented on March 19. The petition will be heard in Belfast on Thursday, May 1.
Additionally, a meeting of creditors of the company is listed for April 25 and is thought to pertain to a creditors' voluntary winding up notice, where directors will lay a statement of affairs before creditors, and a liquidator will be appointed.
While the owners were not available for comment, it is understood that they intend to restructure and bring in new partners, and that both restaurants will remain open.
The Potted Hen was opened in November 2010 by husband and wife team Dermot and Catherine Regan, who had already tasted success with Oregano.
It was the first restaurant to open in the St Anne's Square complex and has blazed a trail for all the other quality eateries now dotted around the complex and wider Cathedral Quarter.
It has scooped awards including a 'Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland' accolade at the National Restaurant Awards in London, and expanded to take up a second floor in September 2012, which doubles as a private dining area.
Restaurant critic Joris Minne said that The Potted Hen had helped the Cathedral Quarter become a social hub.
"It was the first restaurant to open at St Anne's Square and was on the front line and led the charge towards what it has become today, a must-visit destination for many tourists coming to the city," he said.
"The restaurant business is fraught with financial and human resources pressures and is more vulnerable than some other sectors.
"But in the past we have seen big names in the industry rationalise and re-invent themselves, and I sincerely hope that this will be the case again with The Potted Hen."
STORY SO FAR
The Potted Hen hit the headlines last December after a bomb exploded just yards from its doors. Diners enjoying Christmas parties fled after a holdall burst into flames on December 13 on Exhange Street West. However, normal service resumed the next evening and the owners of The Potted Hen thanked people for their support. Dermot and Catherine Regan said: "Thankfully no one was injured and there was no physical damage to the area. We are really thankful for all the messages of support from the public and from our customers. The Cathedral Quarter is a very special place."