Belfast Telegraph

Award-winning Northern Ireland restaurant shuts after 'big rent hike' by council

By Michelle Weir

An award-winning Armagh restaurant, which operated on council land in the city, has been forced out of business by a "substantial rent increase".

The Moody Boar, which was located in the grounds of the Palace Demesne, announced the closure on social media yesterday.

It is the second restaurant in Co Armagh to close in less than two months.

In April, it emerged that historic restaurant The Planters in Waringstown would be closing as it was not economically viable.

The Planters had a history dating back to the 18th century.

Sean and Ramune Liorincaite Farnan, owners of The Moody Boar, blamed a rent hike for their decision.

In a statement, the couple said that after six years it is "no longer financially viable for the business to continue operating".

"Unfortunately, this is the end of The Moody Boar. Unfortunately, we won't be opening any new venture," they said.

"We are extremely proud of turning the Palace Stables from an empty, run-down unknown space used only by the council into the beautiful popular place that is The Moody Boar."

Food critic Joris Minne said the closure was a "great loss for Armagh".

"There are few good restaurants in the ancient capital and the Moody Boar was one you could rely on to showcase the best of local produce in an environment which reflected Armagh's Georgian heritage beautifully," he said. "It's a shame that a land owner who relies on rates from its citizenry chooses to make trading conditions for one of its tenants untenable."

The couple said it was with "much sadness" that they were closing their doors for good.

"We have always enjoyed being involved in local council events, often helping organise and partake in them such as Armagh Apple Blossom Festivals and the St Patrick's Day festivals," they said.

"It was always part of our belief to help drive Armagh into the limelight to create a destination that benefits not only Armagh City but the whole ABC Council area, in other words our food heartland.

"This was something very close to Sean's heart, starting a chefs' circle in the city but always thinking further afield by getting others involved from the whole borough, creating The Food Heartlands Hospitality Forum.

"We have enjoyed immensely carrying out The Moody Boar events, especially Dining Under The Stars 2017."

The Moody Boar was the first restaurant in Armagh to be recommended in the Michelin Guide. Awards included the Lord Mayor's 'Making a Difference' presentation and through the Restaurant Association of Ireland and Food Heartland.

It has also been listed in Georgina Campbell's The Ireland Guide, The McKenna Guide and 'Ireland the Best' by John and Sally McKenna. The couple thanked everyone who has supported their restaurant over the past six years, in particular, family, friends and staff and those involved in the Food Heartlands Hospitality Forum.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council was not available for comment last night.

Belfast Telegraph

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