A Waringstown ‘institution’ is getting set to close its doors - but there will be no job losses.
The Planters Tavern will close its kitchen from the end of business on Sunday (April 8) and only ‘open for selected hours to serve alcohol in accordance with licensing laws for a period of time’.
The bar and restaurant has been very much part of the fabric of life in the village for four decades but is now closing - with ‘the chef and front of house staff moving to the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown, also owned by Paula and Darren Gilbert.
There was also a promise from the owners the building would be put to a use which would serve the community in Waringstown.
Mr Gilbert said: “Business costs at the Planters are simply too high and we are making a conscious decision to consolidate at the Seagoe.
“This will leave us in a better, stronger position and all staff are keeping their jobs and all vouchers are being honoured.
“Like anything in life, times change and we will be looking at different avenues to ensure the building serves the community in Waringstown.”
He said they had been in Waringstown for 12 years and were passionate about the area.
He went on to point out: “We are planning to expand at the Seagoe over the next 12 to 24 months, with plans to extend the bedrooms and business/conference offer over the next few months.”
It brings to an end a long and rich history for the tavern, a history reflected in a statement issued on Monday to announce the closure.
On their Facebook page the Planters declared: “It has been a great pleasure to have been part of so many special occasions.
“We have seen couples meet for the first time, leading to weddings, christenings and have seen customers through their life’s journey and our building shall remain to do that
“All of our team (Chefs & Front of House) will be moving across to the Seagoe Hotel where we will continue to provide the best food and service in the area and we look forward to getting our regulars their new special table and providing that service you are used to.”
Anyone who has made a booking at the venue will be contacted by staff ‘over the next few days to offer you the use of the Seagoe Hotel’.
All Planters vouchers will be honoured in the Seagoe Hotel until their expiry date.
DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said she was ‘gutted’ at the move but added: “I know and trust the building will be used for more great things in the village.”