A fire that reduced a Michelin-starred restaurant in North Yorkshire to “ashes” is being treated as arson.
Investigators believe the blaze at the thatched, 14th-century the Star Inn at Harome on the edge of the North York Moors was started deliberately on Wednesday evening.
More than 40 firefighters tackled the fire at the restaurant, which was one of the first British pubs to be awarded a Michelin star.
North Yorkshire police said: “Following an examination of the scene by police crime scene investigators and fire investigation officers, it is now believed that the fire was started deliberately.
“A number of groups of people were in the area around the time of the fire, and police are urging anyone with information about the incident to contact them.”
No one was injured in the fire.
On Thursday, the chef Andrew Pern tweeted that the business had been “reduced to ashes”.
Pern said he received a call after 10pm to say the straw roof was on fire. “With it being a 14th-century thatched pub, it didn’t really stand a chance once the fire had got hold,” he told BBC Radio York.
He praised employees for their early attempts to put out the blaze. “It was smouldering at first and the staff did a brilliant job, they grabbed all the fire extinguishers, got a hosepipe from the cellar, they did an amazing job themselves.
“But with the thatch and the straw and beams that are 700-800 years old, it didn’t stand a chance really.”
The Star Inn has won many awards including UK gastropub of the year. It has held a Michelin star for much of Pern’s 25-year tenure.
Pern, a finalist with Tom Kerridge in the BBC’s Great British Menu in 2011, estimated it may take a year to get the main dining area up and running again. A newer section of the pub “should be OK, so we’ll be able to function in a fashion, somehow”.
The Michelin Guide praises the Star Inn as “one of our most delightful places” in a building that oozes character. “While the restaurant side has a plush, luxurious feel, it’s still very much the village local and you’ll find the regulars supping on a pint of bespoke ‘Two Chefs’ beer in the characterful bar.”