Damn Yankee Harrogate
Damn Yankee Harrogate

Damn Yankee closes after over 40 years

25 July 2017

A independent Harrogate restaurant has closed after over 40 years trading.

The Damn Yankee, on Station Parade in Harrogate, closed its doors for the last time on 24 July 2017.

The restaurant has been owned by Nikki and Mick Triffit for 17-years and they say it was simply unviable to continue operating.

They had previously sold Salsa Posada and The Cattlemen’s.

An American styled dinner, it was a restaurant with wide appeal from families, shoppers, groups and couples. Like all independents it came under pressure from a huge influx of chain restaurants.



Co-owner, Nicola Triffit, photographed in 2016
Co-owner, Nicola Triffit, photographed in 2016



Nicola Triffit said:

It is with great sadness that we have closed the Damn Yankee. It has not been an easy decision as Damn Yankee has been open since the early 1970’s and we know it has been a big part of many Harrogate people’s lives for the last 40+ years.



Nicola continued: 

We took over Damn Yankee in 2000 and put 17 years of hard work and (literally) blood, sweat & tears into the restaurant. But with the influx of so many chain restaurants, more & more bureaucracy imposed by successive governments, the ever rising costs of food, drink and utilities, the rise of a discounting culture, parking restrictions, the list goes on.

We feel that we can no longer continue to run our business and offer a great product at a good price, so have decided to close.



Nikki and Mick Triffitt said:

We thank you all for your custom over the years and hope you have happy memories and will remember Damn Yankee fondly!


Harrogate Informer Comment


Tim Cook, the Editor, said:

There will no doubt be many comments on social media that it’s big shame that it has closed – that is of course true.

But do you support the independents ?

You see online much cooing that Jamie Oliver or Gino D’Acampo are opening in the town, but that seems to be more based around the apparent pull of a celebrity than anything to do with the quality of food or the night out.

Eating at an independent or a chain doesn’t guarantee a great or a bad meal, but a chain is much more likely to be serving up mediocrity.

The chains can afford the prime locations and often get the footfall from the Harrogate Convention Centre. They have the start-up budgets to put into a new place and get the crowd drift. From the point of view of a visitor to the town, people are also generally pre-programmed to go with something that they know. The independent may be better, but then they may be worse, some may be thinking.

The influx of mediocrity is destroying the town centre. It is losing its uniqueness and become average. That of course is the same for the retail offering in the town that has also seen independent after independent close.

But where does the criticism lie ?

With myself, I didn’t go. It was always somewhere that I meant to go to, but never did, or not for a long time. I knew the food was good, so that creates a lot of self-questions why I didn’t.

With the public en-mass who didn’t go but instead went to one of the many so-called “good” restaurants that really are not. They went with a glitzy marketing campaign, an image or a personality.

With Harrogate itself. Harrogate has very limited support for local restaurants or business generally. But what about Visit Harrogate I hear you say, yes indeed where are Visit Harrogate, the only underground Destination Management group.

I have great regard for the Triffitt’s and respect for how much of their own life’s they have put into this restaurant, I wish them well for their future endeavours.





  1. This is another prime example of short sighted money grabbing by development companies and government/local government. “We’ve developed the town centre, aren’t we good! We are encouraging new business and diversity aren’t we clever!” – in the long run we are simply turning into another generic town without any independence in not only the restaurant industry but retail in general. People used to come to Harrogate for the little boutiques, the family run restaurants and the independent coffee shops (though we still have a few of them). Our high street has become littered with national chains that are ubiquitous up and down the country. I refuse point blank to take my family or visiting friends to ANY chain/national restaurant and will forever be that way.

    SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS or see it die! We’ve lost Mirabelle, Van Zellas, Hoxton North, Bib and Tucker, Yorkshire Meatballs, Brown Sugar, Yugot, Wild, La Olivia, Ches La Vie and many more over the last year or so. Sky high rent, ludicrous rates and increased costs remove the ability for true independent, small business to survive, let alone thrive!


  2. I can’t believe the Damn Yankee has closed .. with great sadness there is an end to Scooby Snacks .. one of our favourite locations in Harrogate .. thanks for all the years of yummy food. All the best for your future whatever that is.

  3. I worked there as a waitress in the 70’s . Met my husband there Andy Mais, he was the chef. It was owned by American Mike Wiand. Happy memories…..

    • Hello Diane
      This is Denise and yes we had some memorable times generally blundering through the funny busy evenings.
      Andy was truly a star and very much part of the success story of The DY ,as were many others from those now far off eventful times.
      .And may I take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked during our tenure to make it a happy place of memories for many.
      Denise Wiand

      • Hi Denise I remember you from the Troutbeck, I was the very messy weekend cook at the very beginning and Mike would come and help me make the buffet on a sunday.My name was Frances and i was only 17. So sorry to hear of Mike passing. What a legend he was. Best wishes to you Denise.

  4. I first visited the Damn Yankee in the very early 70’s when they made their own pizza.Has some great nights there on Birthdays/anniversaries or just with family or friends .Last went a few months back and very sad to see another independent disappear.A real miss for Harrogate, I received the news from my daughter who lives abroad and who we took from being a toddler,happy memories but very sad news.

  5. What an absolute shame! Damn Yankee was an amazing place and somewhere I chose to visit often with family- I’m gutted!!

  6. So sad that Damn Yankee has closed always enjoyed going there. My grandchildren will be so upset. They always loved going there nearly every week. You were always made welcome. The food was delicious and never a long wait. Thanks for all the good times shared there. Take care and all the best for the future.

  7. A campaign aimed at getting locals into local businesses is required – leave the chains to the visitors. Whether its restaurants or shops. An interesting high street adds value to local property.

  8. The Yankee was the only sit down restaurant in harrogate I used to frequent, good value, good food. I once went five evenings on the bounce, with five different girls! It’s a shame harrogate council has to be so mercenary, they have no shame when it comes to rates and overheads, I’ll not be bothering with harrogate again. They need to wise up, they’re losing the faith of the public, the people who line their fat pockets.

  9. I lived in Menwith Hill as a young teenager in the 70s, and have fond memories of eating there. So sad it closed, it was one of a kind.

  10. so glad we went for tea last Saturday. Our family loved damnyankee. We had an inclination when we saw it was cash only. So sad to see another Harrogate restaurant close.

  11. So sad. I was there on the first night and have been there off and on for years. Harrogate has to many restaurants selling ‘nice’ food which does not
    hit the button. The utter lack of character in the town be it retail or dining
    reflects what has happened to so many places. I spend a great amount if time in the Netherlands and the independent trader and thus choice is still alive and well. Quite why we have gone down the path of blandness eludes me in comparison.

  12. Who were the original owners of the damn Yankee?. I ask, as I hear a rumour that it was owned by the same person who wrote, produced, or had something to do with the 80’s disco track, ‘let the music play’, by Shannon. Thank you..

  13. Hello All
    By chance I’ve come across this blog about The Damn Yankee
    My name is Denise Wiand and together with my husband Mike we started the DY in the early 70s (winging it without much money )
    After many delayed starts we eventually opened the doors and it was an immediate success ,thanks to the wonderful staff who helped give the place an atmosphere second to none . Ginger Baines ,Bob Clark ,Andy and Diane ,Ronny, John and so many more including Blanche my mother-in-law And not forgetting our beautiful Old English Sheep Dog Winston who would nightly occupy a place by the bar ( pre health and safety) : And the adaptable customers were part of the whole thing , sometimes chipping in“just to bag a table .
    The funny thing about the Damn Yankee ,was we almost didn’t take the building , as the landlord objected to the word “Damn” ,but he came round and I suspect landed a rental that lasted decades .
    And yes , we had the rights to Shannon Let the Music Play through our next venture at The Leeds Warehouse
    I would like to Thank all who participated in one way or another in The Damn Yankee in those memorable pioneering days x
    Denise Wiand

  14. I worked at the DY in Leeds for a couple of years. Put myself through college actually working on the grill for Bob and Mike. It was a great place to work, better than good food and just generally a fun place. I discovered it via an empty Coors beer can in my flat mates garbage can. “Where did you get this from?” I opened my own Tex-Mex restaurant in Manchester shortly after that. (Amigos) I was able to supply real tortillas to Bob and Mike and they went on to open Margarita’s Cantina, which was all Mex. Them’s were the days before Micky D’s, Burger King, and a bunch of awful copycat chains that don’t stand up to their US heritage.
    It’s sad to see that this kind of business is no longer viable in the UK. I escaped years ago and live in Florida now.

  15. If I remember correctly a lot of the art work in the restaurant was done by shawn Keogh. Like me, I’m sure he was a keen fan of Norman Rockwell. I spent many a fantastic night in the damn yankee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.



Go toTop