|Year Opened||Pre 1968|
The Boroughbridge branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the A1 near Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.
Opened between 1958 and 1968, the Little Chef at Boroughbridge was one of the earliest sites to have opened (one of the first 25 in fact). The restaurant was said to have taken over an independent known as the White Gables cafe, which was housed in a building with the design of a large roadside inn. During the 60s, 70s and 80s, Gardner Merchant (a division of Trusthouse), the owners of Little Chef in the 60s and Trusthouse Forte, the owners of Little Chef (after the merging of Trust Houses and Forte) up until the mid 90s, converted a lot of roadside houses and inns into Little Chef restaurants in order to expand the chain (although Gardner Merchant weren't as effective as Forte). The White Gables cafe was therefore converted into a Little Chef.
In terms of location, the Little Chef was said to have been positioned on a stretch of the old A1 that was bypassed by the new A1, therefore travellers would have to turn off the main road in order to access the restaurant. However, this wasn't a problem as the restaurant was still said to be visible from the main A1, therefore travellers could spot the restaurant and make a decision in good time whether to turn off to dine at the restaurant or not.
In 1984, the Little Chef was joined by its southbound partner, Boroughbridge South, therefore this created a dual sided Little Chef site to serve both sides of the A1.
So, Boroughbridge sounds like a great branch. However, if you worked here, you may have been a little spooked! It was reported that on the second floor of the building, where the training room and Northern regional office were, taps in the bathroom on this floor would mysteriously turn on when no one was up there! A spooky story to tell!
In 1993/94, trouble occured as the A1 was upgraded to a three laned motorway which although improved traffic flow, it was no good for the Little Chef as it had to be demolished. It closed by 1994 and sadly no traces of it can be seen today. As for the southbound restaurant, it wasn't demolished as the stretch that it sat on was not affected by the roadworks. The old stretch of the A1 that it was located on was renumbered the A168. However, due to a loss of traffic on this road, the Little Chef lost custom and it closed it's doors in 1995. The building was said to be replaced sometime later.
However, all was not lost as a few miles up the A1, there was Rainton Services which was home to two Happy Eater restaurants at the time of the Boroughbridge branches closing. These Happy Eaters were soon converted into Little Chefs as Little Chef seemed to be the more superior brand, therefore Little Chef regained its presence in the area. This occured with some other Happy Eater restaurants around the UK too. Although the Raintons are now sadly demolished, it just comes to show that Forte had come up with good solutions to the Boroughbridge restaurants closing and successfully kept Little Chef's presence in the area up until 2010.