A pub near York has pulled through the pandemic to triumph with awards and Michelin recognition.

The Lime Tree Inn in Great Ouseburn was built in 2019/2020 with an opening set for March 2020.

However, Covid delayed this until September, with the virus also costing the family-run venture Christmas as they succumbed to the infection, leaving them with Christmas and New Year stock on their hands.

Left with pennies, Rob and Heloisa Mitchell used a cheque given as a present to pay off furloughed staff.


And as a new business, it took a battle with the authorities to convince government they were entitled to much-needed government support due to their lockdowns.

Furthermore, Heloisa miscarried, something she blames on Covid, but fortunately the couple were blessed with a very happy ‘Rainbow baby’ last December.York Press: Some of the awards from the AA

Heloisa said: “I am a bold, strong and ambitious Brazilian woman and a believer in the power of believing that if there is a will there is a way.”

Rob agrees and notes much, hard work has been essential too.

Rob was born in Newcastle but grew up in Saudi Arabia. His dad later bought a hotel in Scotland, his mother had a catering business, and he wanted to be a chef.

He worked in Michelin restaurants in Scotland and London, eventually meeting Heloisa whilst working on the yachts in Croatia.

Heloisa had worked as a model for ten years and after they married, the coupled lived in Majorca but realised Island life was not for them.

They came to the UK to look after Rob’s mum, and eventually took on The Lime Tree, helped by Rob’s dad running the Malt Shovel at Brearton, 12 miles away.

In recent weeks, accolades have included being a finalist in Pub of the Year in the Visit York Tourism Awards and being added to the Michelin Guide.

The AA also recognises it as a 5-star Country Inn in its Breakfast Awards, adding to an AA Rosette.

Rob said: “It’s down to hard work. Every day you try to improve on what you are doing and being a bit more unique.”

It also means ‘growing’ the staff, with them also helping out where they can.

Heloisa says breakfasts matter as they are the last thing a guest remembers.

“Everything we do is made from scratch,” Rob said, with much grown on their allotment nearby.

He produces “high end comfort food” which is “highly polished but still gives you the cuddle of coming home.”

Signature dishes include Lamb Henry, beef hash, guinea fowl with mushroom ravioli, plus Beef cured in Guinness with a cheese and onion toastie.

Desserts include the classics like sticky toffee pudding and marmalade ice cream.

However, the pub still remains one that also serves locals, with regular visits from the ‘GODS’- Great Ouseburn Drinking Society, who have a say on the beers offered.

Nonetheless, the changes the pandemic wrought forced a move upmarket, making the pub a destination, with a focus on filling the inn’s seven rooms.

York Press: In the allotment just outside the pub

Rob said: “Guests will travel for the food and the experience. They won’t travel for a burger. You have to create a unique destination.”

Such a recipe seems to be working, with the Lime Tree being full on Thursday night with 30-odd covers, plus drinkers. Every Sunday is also full for the traditional Sunday roast.

“There’s TLC put into everything we do. It’s how its grown in the garden. It’s the staff looking after the rooms. It’s the little touches that make us stand out,” he continued.

Heloise said: “Because we care so much, we work hard, we are here all the time. We talk to our staff, invest in our staff and make them happy.”

She added: “We are finally harvesting all the hard work we have put in creating a special place.”