The Artichoke Restaurant in Buckinghamshire, has been forced to close after it was gutted by fire.
The fire started in a neighbouring fish restaurant in the early hours of last Monday before spreading to the first and second floors of the French restaurant in Old Amersham.
Owner Laurie Gear estimates it will be six months before he re-opens the restaurant he and his wife Jacqueline set up from scratch, because work must be done to repair offices and water-logged kitchens that were damaged during the blaze.
"It has really messed us up. We celebrate our sixth anniversary this year and we’d just made a real push with things, we had an influx of staff and we have just been reviewed for our third rosette, so we were in line for a really good summer,” Gear told BigHospitality.
The restaurant owner has set up a remote office to work from and is keeping customers up-to-date with progress via a recorded message on the restaurant’s phone.
He said: “We’ve had thousands of emails and phone calls from loyal clientele and we will keep them updated.”
Gear is now in discussions with his insurance company to find out when repair work can start.
“Having insurance is good, but it doesn’t insure you for the sheer stress and mental anguish something like this causes. Fortunately we have loyal staff – two chefs and a restaurant manager – who have said they’ll stay with us.”