A WELL-KNOWN vegan restaurant in York is closing at the end of next month, but the premises will reopen as a restaurant under new ownership.

The award-winning El Piano, on Grape Lane, which has been serving vegan and vegetarian food to residents for 21 years, will shut on August 30 for a refurbishment.

Owner Magdalena Chavez, who launched the restaurant in 1997 with her family, is retiring. The business has been bought by a York chef but it has not been revealed who this person is.

Staff at El Piano will be able to re-apply to work at the new restaurant when it opens.

The Press has been told that the restaurant will not be called El Piano, it will be a totally new venture, with a new chef and a new menu. The menu will still serve vegan and vegetarian options but it will not be solely vegan or vegetarian.

Magdalena said: “We are moving on. Our job is done. Twenty one years of blazing the vegan and gluten-free trail has led us all to the happy point where almost all eateries in York are now offering vegan and gluten-free options.

“It has been our absolute pleasure to serve you all these years and we thank you for your loyalty and support.

“You will still be able to find us and our products, recipes, videos and books at www.el-piano.com.”

Speaking about the plans for the premises, Magdalena added: “One of York’s most vibrant chefs will soon pick up where we left off; serving colourful food from around the world. Watch this space, we know you’ll be as excited as we are about what’s to come.”

El Piano offered plant-based, gluten-free food using organic and local ingredients long before it was popular.

Over the years El Piano has won and been nominated for numerous awards.

It was named Café of the Year in the Visit York Tourism Awards in 2017, and last month it became the first restaurant in the world to gain the international palm oil free accreditation.