The Sinderby branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the southbound side of the A1 near Sinderby, North Yorkshire.
Address and Onsite Information[edit | edit source]
ADDRESS: A1 Southbound, Sinderby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 4LE
ONSITE FACILITIES: None (service station lost to upgrade of the A1 in 2009)
History[edit | edit source]
The Little Chef at Sinderby first opened in 1973 alongside a filling station (branded as National and later BP) at a small service area on the southbound side of the A1 just north of Thirsk and right next to the Sinderby turn off. It opened as part of Forte's rapid expansion of the Little Chef chain. This expansion occurred throughout the 70s and 80s and saw many independent roadside cafes and houses being converted into Little Chef restaurants and also new restaurants being built from scratch at roadside service areas. Sinderby was a restaurant built from scratch and it was housed inside of a flat roofed building; the typical Little Chef house design of the era. It was said to have seated 60 people.
When the restaurant first opened, it was said to have been the only restaurant serving southbound traffic on the A1 between Gateshead and Blyth; a huge distance of around 120 miles, therefore this meant that the restaurant was highly busy, especially in the summer time when holidaymakers would travel towards the south.
In 1985, the restaurant was extended in order to provide more seating for travellers. Within the process, the entrance was moved from the side to the front.
In the early 90s, the Little Chef received a Coffee Stop. Coffee Stop was introduced to a large number of Little Chef sites which were said to be busy in order to cater for those travellers who were on the move with no time to properly stop for a sit down meal. However, the outlets were removed from these sites in the mid 90s when Granada took over and were replaced with either Burger King outlets or nothing. Sinderby received nothing after its Coffee Stop closed.
In 1994/95, the Happy Eater restaurant at Rainton South, a few miles south of Sinderby, was converted into a Little Chef and although this created competition between the two sites, it didn't really affect Sinderby as it still proved to be successful. Even in 2004, the decision was made to close Rainton South in order to focus on Sinderby. However, this sadly didn't last long as Sinderby closed its doors in 2004/05 when then owners, Permira, sold off 131 Little Chef sites around the UK. On the plus side, Rainton South reopened its doors in 2005, meaning that Little Chef's presence wasn't completely lost in the area.
After the closure of Sinderby Little Chef, the adjacent filling station closed and the site remained derelict. Both restaurant and filling station were finally demolished in 2009 in order to make way for the upgrade of the A1 from A-road to motorway. Rainton South and its sister site, Rainton North, sadly had to close too as part of the motorway upgrade, meaning that Little Chef no longer have their presence in this area. A sad end.