Deane said the decision to close his flagship restaurant, which originally opened on Howard Street back in 1997 and has held a Michelin star for much of its 25 year tenure, is a response to price-sensitivity among customers and reflects part of a development plan to readjust the restaurant’s offering.
In a statement, Deane said: “I am excited and invigorated by this opportunity to refresh the business, but I must also say how very proud I am of the Michelin star and the length of time we have been fortunate to have it.
"We have reaped the benefits it has brought to our brand. Our decision to move away from this has been carefully considered and evaluated and I believe it is the right direction to take now and it’s the right time to do it.
“To underpin sustainability and profitability, which secures a business and jobs, you need to be constantly adapting and responding to your customers’ preferences.
"With Brexit, Covid and now the cost of living crisis, the world has changed, my team has changed, customers have changed their choices, and I have changed, and, while people are back to eating out, there is increasing cost sensitivity which is out of kilter with our fine dining offering at Eipic and we have to respond to that.”
Deane is one of Belfast’s most prominent chefs and operates several restaurants in the city under his Deanes Restaurants group.
The new concept set to replace Deanes Eipic, which will be unveiled in the new year, will have ‘an increased focus on value for money’ and combine elements of Deane’s Love Fish and Meat Locker restaurants that are both also located on Howard Street.
“I want to thank all our customers and look forward to welcoming them in the New Year when we will unveil our new dining concept,” Deane added.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the Deanes Eipic team led by chef Alex Greene and manager Bronagh McCormick who have played an important part in the success of Eipic.”
The decision to shut Deanes Eipic comes after the closure of the group’s Deane & Decano restaurant on Lisburn Road, which was announced back in August following ‘a proposed unsustainable rent hike’.
Following Deanes’s announcement, Greene and McCormick revealed their own plans to embark on a new hospitality venture together in early 2024 – a new restaurant with rooms in the heart of Mourne Country.