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SPARK:Go is a Flash of Hope for York's Food Scene

If one thing’s certain in these times, it’s that York’s independent food scene won’t go down without a fight.

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Image Credit: SPARK: York CIC

With all of us being cooped up at home, it’s no wonder that the reopening of chain outlets like Burger King and KFC has caused the kind of excitement that would never happen under any other circumstances. If life were normal, there’s no way we would all be queueing for an hour to chow down on a greasy, plastic burger. But with Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown being as clear as mud, it’s impossible to know for certain when our favourite independent bars and restaurants will be able to welcome us again. Many are concerned that some venues may never reopen, with independent outlets being particularly vulnerable to this unprecedented economic downturn.

However, those in lockdown in York needn’t resort to these fast-food chains. In the face of this bleak situation, York’s independent food scene is learning to thrive. As we have passed the peak of the virus, more and more restaurants are testing their capabilities of bringing us delicious food, contact-free.

SPARK:York CIC has launched a delivery service, operating both with Deliveroo and local business, Fleetway Taxis. With SPARK being host to a huge variety of food outlets, this markedly improves York’s local takeout options. SPARK’s manager, Kendall Craven-Evans, tells Nouse that their first weekend was a “total hit” and that they are “so grateful for all of the support we have received, and that we have the opportunity to provide the people of York with their favourites again.”

Setting up a delivery service of this kind in such a short period of time doesn’t come without its challenges though. “Our first weekend proved that teamwork is everything with a new feature like this,” Kendall says. “We are so lucky to be working with such determined and creative individuals who have made the process a productive and positive experience.”

SPARK’s vegan star, Doner Summer, has also opened up a new location in Leeds for delivery during lockdown; an impressive feat, when so many outlets are struggling to keep their current locations afloat. To beat the lockdown boredom, SPARK’s ramen bar Shori offers ready-to-cook ramen kits. This saves the hassle of trying to box up a meal which is mostly broth, and means you can feel like a ‘professional’ chef.

If one thing’s certain in these crazy times, it’s that York’s food scene won’t go down without a fight. It’s easy to dwell on the negative impact that this crisis will have on the hospitality industry, but with businesses like SPARK adapting so quickly to the changes, this begs the question of whether these new services could continue to brighten York’s food scene post-lockdown.

“Although it’s hard to say at this point, we would like to continue SPARK:Go post-lockdown. The feedback we have already received has been extremely positive, and we understand that the ease of ordering a takeaway is something that everyone enjoys” Kendall tells us. No doubt, we will all be desperate to down a pint atop SPARK’s crates in person, but in the long term, this delivery service could spread SPARK’s success even further. “While our site is usually a social spot which encourages meeting, eating and drinking, we will definitely consider continuing delivery as we want our on-site independent traders to be accessible for everyone.”

So before you’re tempted to indulge in a Bargain Bucket, keep our beloved independents in mind - they need us more than ever. SPARK has long been treasured by York residents as a community hub, serving up a variety of events alongside their street food, from acoustic nights to Extinction Rebellion meetings. Kendall assures us that SPARK will be back with a ‘bang’, but for now, you can satiate yourself with one of their delicious takeaway deals.

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