A popular restaurant in the heart of Ramsbottom’s high street has shared details about the closure and plans for the future.

Levanter in Square Street shut its doors for the last time after almost a decade of business earlier this month.

The decision came as a shock as when owners, Joe and Fiona Botham announced the closure of their bar, Baratxuri on Smithy Street in an attempt to save on escalating costs, they reassured their loyal customers that the restaurant Levanter would remain open.

Unfortunately, the owners had to make the saddening decision to close restaurant this month as the business was struggling with industry pressures and rising costs.

In a statement, Joe and Fiona said: “It has been heartbreaking to have to take the decision to close Levanter in Ramsbottom, having been there almost a decade and the hundreds of messages of support we’ve received from our guests have been overwhelming and we’re very grateful.

“However, it was impossible to see a way forward in the current economic climate, with horrendously rising costs across the board, a premature return to full 20 per cent VAT for hospitality after Covid, and an untenable rise in our energy bills made it unviable.”

Another barrier causing issues for the restaurant unearthed last month when the temporary traffic regulation order that was put in place on Square Street between Smithy Street and Bridge Street in 2020 was being lifted.

The pedestrianisation of the street was welcomed by Joe and Fiona, as well as other restaurant owners as it allowed for customers to offer an al fresco service during the pandemic but the transition from temporary Covid licensing meant the road would reopen to traffic and put a stop to the outdoor dining.

The pair said that without the extra outside tables, it would be “extremely tough” to meet the demands of the huge increases in energy bills, supplier costs, and wages.

Joe and Fiona added: “The decision to reopen the road to traffic, whilst we completely understand why this was actioned as a result of the end of the covid permissions, meant that if we couldn’t generate additional revenue over the Spring/Summer from outdoor dining, we simply could not make the numbers work.

“Everybody is feeling the pressure right now, both businesses and customers - who have their own household bills to meet whilst their budgets are being squeezed.

“We wish everyone in Ramsbottom the very best of luck and we know the local councillors are working extremely hard to support businesses and develop more events in the town, and for it to continue as an amazing place to live and to visit.”

Ramsbottom Cllr Tom Pilkington said: "I'm heartbroken to see Baraxturi and Levanter no longer be part of Ramsbottom's amazing community of independent eateries.

"They move on with our gratitude for helping put Ramsbottom on the culinary map.

"It is indeed difficult and worrying times for many of Ramsbottom's independent businesses.

"What I am grateful for is the amazing community we have here, and I would urge everyone to support local, shop local and promote local.

"I wish Joe and Fiona every success in future, Ramsbottom will sorely miss what they brought."

Food critic for the Observer, Jay Rayner visited the restaurant in 2015 and gave the business a glowing review.

Responding to the shocking news, he wrote: “This is tragic news. I bloody loved Levanter.”

One customer of Levanter said: “This is devastating. If places as good as Levanter can’t make a fist of it then we’re in big trouble.”

Many other echoed the worry that if Michelin star restaurants like Levanter can’t survive the economic crisis, then there is little hope for independent businesses.

Baratxuri on Smithy Street has relocated to "Exhibition" on Museum Street in Manchester and is one of the three kitchens at the site alongside Onda and Osma Kitchen Bar.