Huge new York restaurant sets up a celebrity chef city centre showdown

This shows the scale of the new restaurant, as all the windows with the blue screening will be Carluccio's on St Helen's Square. Photograph: Richard McDougall
28 May 2016 @ 7.14 pm
| Food & Drink

Italian celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio is bringing a branch of his restaurant into the heart of York.

Carluccio’s is to move into both the historic Terry’s shop and former TSB bank on St Helen’s Square.

It will set up an Italian food rivalry with his former employee Jamie Oliver – Jamie’s Italian operates just yards away in Lendal Cellars.

The Carluccio’s chain has applied to the council to open from 8am to 12.30am every day, with a drinks licence until midnight.

That means it will be open for at least an hour longer than Jamie’s Italian each night, which opens till 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 9.30pm-10.30pm the rest of the week.

It will be the second Carluccio’s to open in York, in addition to the popular branch inside Fenwicks in the Coppergate Centre.

Big and bold

Swish design… inside the Dorchester branch of Carluccio's. Photograph: Carluccio's
Swish design… inside the Dorchester branch of Carluccio’s. Photograph: Carluccio’s

Taking over both the former TSB Bank and Terry’s shop means Carluccio’s will be able to feed plenty of diners.

The plan shows room for 86 diners on the ground floor and a further 82 on the first floor – a grand total of 168 covers.

That will make it one of York’s largest city centre restaurants. By comparison, Star Inn The City seats 130 diners.

There will also be central bars on each floor with six bar stools on each.

The branding we can expect: the exterior of the Carluccio's restaurant in Newcastle
The branding we can expect: the exterior of the Carluccio’s restaurant in Newcastle

The idea is to strike a contrast between the historic exterior and modern new fittings. The design statement says:

Once the building is revitalized the restaurant design approach will be to enhance the existing stonework, joinery, plaster work etc and install ‘new’ loose furniture.

For example the bars will be treated as modern design pieces of furniture which have been located within the listed building.

The design will be about a contrast between the old building ‘housing’ new loose modern furniture.

The Carluccio's shop in Market Place, London
The Carluccio’s shop in Market Place, London

As well as a large dining area, Carluccio’s will come with a shop selling a range of the Italian chef’s sauces, “Italian larder items”, cookbooks and assorted treats.

Two superstar chefs

Pasta masters: Jamie Oliver (left) and Antonio Carluccio
Pasta masters: Jamie Oliver (left) and Antonio Carluccio

The new restaurant will bring two old friends into a head-to-head rivalry.

Jamie Oliver opened a branch of his Jamie’s Italian in Lendal Cellars off St Helen’s Square in 2012.

He began his working life as a pastry chef at Antonio Carluccio’s Neal Street restaurant in London, gaining his first experience of cooking Italian.

The two have remained friends, and Antonio has appeared on Jamie’s TV shows.

So what do the menus offer? At Jamie’s Italian, York, you can tuck into Turkey Milanese for £13.75 or Jamie’s Favourite Porchetta for £13.95.

Carluccio’s at Fenwick, meanwhile, offers two courses for £13.99: these include main dishes like Chicken Milanese and Penne Giardiniera.

So for lovers of Italian cuisine it looks like St Helen’s Square could offer a taste of la bella vita