Ostlers Close Restaurant For Sale
It is more than forty years since husband and wife team, Jimmy and Amanda Graham, launched Ostlers Close just off Bonnygate in Cupar. In the next four decades, the couple created what was recognised by many as the town’s number one eatery. We met up with Amanda over a cuppa at the restaurant …
2020 was a challenging year for the hospitality sector, Ostlers being no different, stopping and starting business as per the Covid restrictions. So in the Spring of 2021, it was with great enthusiasm the couple prepared the restaurant ready for reopening.
Unfortunately, their plans were halted by Jimmy unexpectedly becoming ill, a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease took time, leaving him with nerve damage. Jimmy and Amanda have remained positive and expected Jimmy to recover completely so that the they could reopen the restaurant. However, time has progressed and Jimmy still has numb hands and feet, which means he’s not kitchen fit.
While they live in hope for an improvement and ideally would love to reopen, they have to be realistic and realise that now is the time to pass the Ostlers baton on to the next budding restaurateur … at least, that is very much their wish.
At the beginning …
Jimmy always wanted to be a chef. He went into hospitality at the age of 15, before heading to college. He worked in Switzerland for a year, met Amanda in St Andrews when she had a summer job from University. Both had – and still have – a shared passion for cooking, inspired by excellent local seasonal produce as well as by their hobbies of gardening and foraging.
It was their shared ambition and belief to achieve the highest standards – to have the same level of commitment – coupled with “enthusiastic customers” that led to their success. They’ve had many highlights. Amanda says: “On a personal level, being able to work together for all those years years, committing so much of our time and energy to the business while bringing up our daughters … and maintaining a sense of humour. That’s probably the reason why we survived!“
Undoubtedly, they did far more than ‘survive’. Their success was down to those ingredients – and more.
Jimmy worked hard to nurture relationships with local suppliers – lamb, Scotch beef, pork, lobster, crab, prawns, scallops and langoustine not to mention seasonal vegetables. If they couldn’t grow them themselves, they’d try to find the very best, seasonal produce as close to Cupar as they could.
Maintaining and developing standards of cooking that kept pace with changes in the catering industry, Ostlers featured in the Good Food Guide every year since the year after they launched and won two AA rosettes. They were proud to be recognised in Visit Scotland’s quality assurance scheme with a Taste Our Best Award and consistently ranked at Number 1 on Trip Advisor with five star reviews …
All of that recognition, reputation and success is a real testament to Jimmy, Amanda and their loyal team and customers.
Amanda says the summer just gone was hard, explaining: “Over the years we have built such a fantastic and loyal customer base. As we counted down to the 150th Open Championship in July, we were receiving booking requests from former customers from all over the world. Sadly, we had to turn them all down as we were unable to do what we love the most.”
But Amanda is hopeful. They have put the business on the market. “Some people thought we were mad when we opened here in 1981. Its in the wrong place, its too small, you won’t make it work in Cupar. We heard many negatives but – if you believe in what you do, do it to your best ability and then work hard to exceed your customers’ expectations, you can make a success. We did so and we have had an amazing life because of Ostlers.”
The couple hope there will be a ‘Jimmy & Amanda Mark II’ who will come out of the woodwork and recognise the opportunity Ostlers affords.
It may have been closed for some time, but walking through the door, it is ready to re-open. Whoever is lucky enough to take on this wee icon will have the benefit of being ‘ready’ from Day 1. Amanda has kept the decor fresh. It is fully furnished with all that any new owners need – including a wonderfully equipped kitchen that is larger than expected for the size of venue. That space was essential. Amanda says: “We made everything from scratch with seasonal produce sourced locally. We grew our own vegetables, herbs and fruit. We foraged for wild mushrooms. Everything we did gave Ostlers an individual, personal style.” And boy did they deliver: from hand-written menus that changed frequently to their use of the most of fresh, local seasonal ingredients … the attention to detail was their trademark. ‘Dietary requirements’ is an often heard phrase, but at Ostlers, it was meant: each and every dish prepared individually for each of customer. They even baked their own gluten-free bread for coeliacs and for those on a gluten-free diet. They also catered for lactose-free and vegetarian customers.
Amanda and Jimmy have maintained the restaurant as well as their website – all in the hope that a buyer will be able to take things on in the new year.
In spite of challenging times, they are convinced that anyone taking on Ostlers Close will be successful as they have a well established customer base that will be delighted to see the restaurant back open and will be ready to support the new owners.
If you are interested – or you know someone who might be – please do not hesitate to get in touch with Amanda via this email link.
Thanks for reading!