IN BUSINESS: Partners Robert Dunbar and Simon Adamson converted their bistro into a deli because their shop is too small to accommodate socially-distanced seating                TM pic
IN BUSINESS: Partners Robert Dunbar and Simon Adamson converted their bistro into a deli because their shop is too small to accommodate socially-distanced seating TM pic

OWNERS of a dale restaurant had to completely change their business model in order to reopen.

The Corner Bistro, at the top of The Bank in Barnard Castle, was a thriving business despite only being open for 18 months before the coronavirus lockdown.

But the cosy nature that was so attractive to customers turned out to be its undoing when cafes and pubs were allowed to reopen – it was simply too small to safely have anyone sitting inside.

And despite having a licence to do so, county officers said the pavement outside is too narrow to allow safe distancing between customers seated outside and passing pedestrians.

With seemingly no other way to go on business partners Robert Dunbar and Simon Adamson decided to convert their eatery into a deli shop.

Mr Adamson said they would be using their original suppliers. He added: “We have an Italian supplier with fresh imports from Tuscany such as honey, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, baked figs and organic pasta.”

Also, in stock are a range of Yorkshire produce, including handcrafted beer, and one side of the shop is now a dedicated cellar for their wide range of wines.

Mr Adamson said: “We are trying to do it under the banner of ‘artisan’ – so it is all handcrafted from the pasta through to the flapjacks.

“We have an idea of what we want to supply, but it will evolve, so if people want something like anchovy paste, we can get it. We have wanted to do something like this for a while and we think it is a good way for our business to go.”

In the short space that the bistro was open it built up a solid reputation and gained such a loyal support base that when they announced their reopening, a group of customers volunteered to help clean the shop.

“While the shop has been converted into a deli, the partners are still selling the coffee and home-baked breads that had made them such a popular destination before the lockdown.

The remodelled deli at the Corner Bistro opened for business on Wednesday last week.