The York East branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the eastbound side of the A64 near Bilbrough, North Yorkshire.
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: A64 Eastbound, Tadcaster, York, North Yorkshire, LS24 8EQ
ONSITE FACILITIES: BP, Hursts (forecourt), Costa Express (forecourt), EG Diner, Burger King, Travelodge (Book Room)
The site has been given a multitude of names over the years. When first planned it was set to be called Bilbrough but the name was changed to York on opening with some guides even referring to it as Tadcaster. Forte then changed the name to York East in the mid 90s when the Happy Eater at Bilbrough Top, slightly further east and serving the westbound side, became a Little Chef and was named York West until closure around 2004/05.
In terms of facilities, it was the classic perfect line up of restaurant, lodge and filling station with a Burger King joining the line up in the mid 90s in the Granada era, although this later closed.
After the success of Popham, York East became the second site to get "Hestonised" following Little Chef's high-profile partnership with Chef Heston Blumenthal. The site gained the Ab Rogers designed interior featuring the modern British diner decor and "Blue Sky Thinking" ceiling with the ex Burger King sporting a Timeline wall, charting Little Chef's evolution through the years, plus a small children's play area.
It was also the first site to receive Little Chef's new branding with mascot, Fat Charlie receiving a proper chefs jacket which replaced his neckerchief on the logo. Only two sites, York East and Kettering West, received this branding as the logo was changed again after their refurbishiment. However, this branding was removed in 2014 in favour of the current swirly Little Chef logo.
In 2012, a Little Chef Express counter was added to the line up and this was later followed by the re-opening of the Burger King outlet in June 2014. The re-opening of the Burger King meant that the timeline wall and play area was removed. Fortunately though, the photos were kept and they were scattered all over the restaurant.
In 2017, Euro Garages took over the Little Chef chain and throughout the year, a majority of the restaurants were converted into brands such as Starbucks and Subway. By January 2018, only half of the Little Chef restaurants remaining were converted, leaving around 35 to 40 Little Chefs still trading. Due to Euro Garages being unable to use the Little Chef name after 31st January 2018, they had to think of an option to quickly convert the remaining restaurants. This was when EG Diner was born and York East was one of the first of these to open. However, these EG Diners at the moment are literally just unbranded Little Chefs with the EG Diner menu. The remaining Little Chefs are expected to follow the same path, although some will only be open for a short period of time, as they have further plans to be replaced by other brands.