Belfast's Ivory restaurant closes with loss of 27 jobs
Twenty-seven jobs have been lost after the firm behind a restaurant and champagne bar in Belfast's House of Fraser announced the businesses were closing with immediate effect.
The Ivory Restaurant and Ivory Champagne Cafe Bar, operated by father and son team Brian and Adam Stockman, are to move to a new location.
The restaurant was located on the top floor of House of Fraser, which was recently rebranded as Fraser's in Belfast.
The champagne bar was launched on the womenswear floor of the department store in 2016 in an investment worth approximately £100,000.
The restaurant had a £75,000 refurbishment in 2018, part of a wider £5m refit of the department store.
A spokesperson for the businesses said: "As of Tuesday, January 7, The Ivory Restaurant and The Ivory Champagne Cafe Bar will cease trading within House of Fraser, Belfast.
"As a privately owned business, it has been increasingly difficult over the last 12 months to successfully trade in a retail environment that is undergoing significant change.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
"We have been actively looking for alternative sites in Belfast city centre and continue to do so, but at this time we have been unable to secure a new site for our business.
"Regrettably, 27 staff will be affected by this decision and we continue to support them during this time.
"All valid gift vouchers will be refunded by contacting the restaurant via email on email@example.com before January 21 2020.
"We would like to thank our customers for their custom over the past eight years and look forward to welcoming them to our new location in the future".
Joris Minne, this newspaper's restaurant critic, commended the owners for honouring unused vouchers.
"It's always very sad to see a restaurant close, particularly when it employs so many people and generates business for local suppliers," he said.
"Unlike other closures, the Ivory's owners have maintained great dignity by clearly offering to honour vouchers and gift certificates to those who present themselves before January 21."
Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley bought House of Fraser last year and saved it from administration.
The company was unavailable for comment regarding the closure of The Ivory. Victoria Square, which House of Fraser is located in, was also unavailable for comment.
Last year The Guardian reported that Mr Ashley was to invest millions of pounds in turning up to seven House of Fraser stores into a new luxury mini-chain to be called Fraser's.
House of Fraser was recently rebranded as Fraser's in Belfast and a new Flannels store was launched in Victoria Square in December.
It is one of the largest Flannels stores to open and includes the first Flannels cafe and bar.