A RESTAURANTEUR is back in business months after being forced to close at short notice.

Barry O’Leary, who owns Finbarr’s restaurant with his business partner and chef Tom Jackson, is preparing to open its doors next week.

It is planning to open for dinner in its new location in Aykley Heads next Saturday, June 11.

The restaurant was one of three which closed suddenly within months of each other in late 2015 and the start of 2016.

Bistro 21, owned by Terry Laybourne, shut suddenly in October last year, which was followed by the closure of Oldfield’s Noted Eating House, in Claypath, in January.

Finbarr’s, in Waddington Street, followed suit in February after Mr O’Leary was given 24 hours to move out of his premises in the Kingslodge Hotel.

He was forced to apologise to dozens of customers who were left disappointed after making bookings to celebrate Mothering Sunday at the venue, which was listed in the prestigious Michelin Guide.

But the Shildon-based restaurateur now has plans to reopen Finbarr’s in the former Bistro 21 premises in Aykley Heads.

The restaurant will keep the same name when it moves into the converted farmhouse building.

Both Mr O’Leary, who has been involved in restaurants in the city since 1996, and Mr Jackson previously worked at Bistro 21.

Mr O’Leary said: “I never thought I would end up back here. I know the building inside out.

“We’ll be opening again for dinner next Saturday. It’s basically going to be high quality, top end dining in this fantastic building with lots of character, which I think Durham is lacking.

“I’m very happy. It’s been an incredibly stressful time.

“I just want to tell people that we’re back.”

Mr O’Leary has retained the full staff of 22 full-time and 18 part-time staff from the previous establishment.

The Kingslodge Hotel was bought by the Inn Collection Group and reopened as The Kingslodge Inn in April, serving traditional pub food cooked by head chef Christopher Bond.

Manager Leanne Jeffrey said: “We are really enjoying providing Durham with a cosy and welcoming traditional pub with rooms, in a location convenient to both local people and visitors alike.”

Meanwhile Bistro 21’s former chef Ruari Mackay has moved to another Durham pub – The Garden House Inn, in Framwellgate Peth.

Bistro 21, which was part of the 21 Hospitality Group, closed because falling staff members were threatening the quality of the service.