A popular Leamington Restaurant and former shop has ceased trading after 22 years, its owners have announced.
Rhubarb, on the corner of Warwick Street and Bedford Street, has offered fine dining for several years but Jean Partridge and her eldest daughter Abi have decided to “retire from the hectic world of restaurant life”.
The family-run business started at a smaller unit in Bedford Street in the early 1990s as a vintage clothing and then an eclectic curiosity shop selling art, jewellery, furniture and local crafts.
Abi left the shop, known then as Rhubarb Crumble, to “follow the call of distant adventure in far off lands” while Jean took the venture to its current premises.
With a couple of battered old chesterfield settees and a coffee machine, Rhubarb started to become a venue for eating and drinking as well as shopping.
It is from this time that the business boasts the claim it was among the first to sell real coffee in the town.
Wholesome foods were added to menu when Abi returned from New York and along with the smell of the coffee, mellow jazz on the stereo and the retail side of the business, Rhubarb became one of the hippest places to see and be seen in.
Fine wines and food were latter introduced along with an oak bar and tables and chairs and Rhubarb as it was known up to this point emerged.
People have responded to the news of the closure on Facebook.
Judie Stoddart said: “Sad news, great place”, while Cadelle Hill said: “That’s sad, a glass of wine in the summer there was heaven.”
Gillian Soden said: “It was never the same after it changed from the casual dining of Rhubarb Crumble, with its communal tables and buzzy atmosphere. Moving to finer dining was its downfall in my humble opinion.”
Paul Griffin said: “Restaurants and pubs are the hardest businesses. They did great to keep it going for so long.”