Betsy & Bo

It was an institution. The Gift Shop in Staithes stocked everything you ever needed: candles, string, sink plungers, hot water bottles, buckets, spades, firelighters, a single screw or 1000 piece jigsaw. If Terry didn’t have it he could get it for you by Friday.

Terry and Ann Lawson ran the Gift shop for 48 years. Electrician, lifeboat man, musician, poet, photographer, philosopher – Terry was a man of many parts. Sadly he died in 2013 after a long illness and Ann sold the business soon after. They are both much missed in the village.

Happily Luke and Sophie bought the shop in 2016 creating a bespoke chocolate shop and general store. Nobody needs chocolate in the way they needed Terry’s light bulbs and 6” nails, but it’s very nice to have and good to see the shop retained as a business.

Luke has known Staithes for many years holidaying at the family house Cowbar View. Now they have moved to Whitby full time with their twin daughters Betsy and Bo after whom the shop is named.

It all looks very different from Terry’s days, the old wooden shelves have been retained, but now they are stocked with old fashioned sweets in glass jars and the counter displays beautifully packaged chocolate from the Mast Brothers, USA and Roccoco. They’ve started making their own handmade truffles too and plan chocolate workshops. Look out too for old favourites such as liquorice, lollies, Edinburgh rock, fudge and lucky bags.

Alongside the shop is the General Store. No it’s not all recherché ingredients – though they do have vacuum packed octopus – there are the basics of washing up liquid, logs, firelighters, rice, lentils, onions and pasta. Just the sort of stuff you need when arriving at your holiday cottage. There are treats too like extra virgin olive oil, soft Italian nougat, jams and clotted cream. You could put together an antipasti board with their Parma ham, chorizo, Italian cheeses, jars of roasted artichokes and aubergine. It’s licensed too with some rather good wines and Mason’s Yorkshire gin.

Betsy & Bo, High Street, Staithes. 01947 840059

Our Beautiful Yorkshire Coast

Yorkshire, England’s biggest county has two National Parks: the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. The North York Moors National Park (not the North Yorkshire Moors please) stretches inland across miles of  beautiful heather capped moorland to the sea, a rugged coastline of rocky shores and towering cliffs, famous for its Jurassic fossils and crab and lobster fishing.

If you are a follower of Squidbeak, you will know that Mandy and I have a particular affection for this stretch of coastline and the villages of Robin Hood’s Bay, Runswick Bay and Staithes and of the unsung beach of Cattesty Sands at Skinningrove. The North York Moors National Park have produced four films covering different areas of the landscape, we thought it would be an idea to share them for visitors to get a taste of this stunning National Park. We begin with the Yorkshire Coast and will add the others as we go.

Find out more at




Yorkshire Crab & Lobster

The fishing boat, All My Sons in Staithes harbour

The rocky shoreline form Staithes to Spurn Point provides some of the best Yorkshire lobster and brown crab in the world.

It’s fished by a small fleet of self-employed fishermen who are out every day throughout the spring and summer in small boats checking their pots identified by coloured flags bobbing in the water that reach down to depths of up to 190 feet.

It’s hard graft winching them all up – some fishermen own hundreds – checking them for size and throwing back any that are too small. They put elastic bands round the vicious claws, re-bait the pots and drop them back again for another day.

Fisherman Sean Baxter checking his pots from the shore

For the fishermen, crab and lobster are a valuable crop though they get nothing like the amount charged by restaurants in Europe where Yorkshire shellfish often ends up.

Yorkshire east coast crab, lobster and langoustines are still so highly regarded that Spanish vivier trucks transport them live across the continent as prizes for the markets and restaurants of Madrid.

Given that the Yorkshire coast is so rich in seafood, fresh local lobster is surprisingly tricky to find on a menu. ‘Too expensive’ say the chefs, who can’t risk being left with any uneaten lobsters if there are no takers.

Whitby’s famous Magpie Cafe

You can find lobster thermidor at the Magpie Cafe or at Greens, bothin Whitby, But is there anything sweeter than the prime brown crab or North Sea lobster that you’ve cooked yourself? You can buy both, cooked or live from the Magpie’s wet fish shop the Whitby Catch or from Whitby Seafish in Staithes. Best between April and December

Twelve minutes in a pan of sea water or well-salted tap water and served with mayonnaise, home made if possible, but Hellmanns will do, and some crusty bread – heaven on a plate and at a fraction of the restaurant price.

The Endeavour Sails Again

It was fireworks at the Endeavour Kitchen with B & B at Staithes last night and not just because it was November 5, but the rockets went up from the beach in honour of the re-opening of the Endeavour as the Endeavour Kitchen.

The Endeavour has had a turbulent history. For twelve years it ran gloriously under Lisa Chapman who is still behind a stove but working freelance as To Dine For doing pop up dinners and events. Since her day it’s had a number of incarnations both good and not so good.

Vicky Endeavour

Vicky Dixon outside the new Endeavour Kitchen with the giant pumpkin she carved raising £257 for the RNLI

Based on last night’s opening ‘do’ it promises to be back on track again under Vicky Dixon, who with her partner Matthew Asquith, run the award-winning Whitby Seafish and Smokehouse where they fillet the fish that comes into Staithes and Whitby, dress the crabs, smoke fish and generally  sell lots of good things, so there’s a guarantee of some prime seafood on the Endeavour menu again.

Vicky has refurbished the three bedrooms which look crisp, clean and delightful and last night sent sublime snacks out of the kitchen: pulled pork, mini burgers, fish chowder. If they serve any of these in the coming weeks, we’ll be there.

It’s open 8 til 8 serving breakfast, an all-day menu and into the evening. Good luck to Vicky and her lovely team and watch this space.

Endeavour Kitchen with B & B, 1 High Street, Staithes Tel: 01947 841029



Taste the Wild

Chris_BaxI’d heard a lot about Chris Bax and his Taste the Wild courses but had never met him until I found myself sitting next to him at at a dinner at the Star Inn to launch Yorkshire Food Finder and discovered what a charming, enthusiast and knowledgeable guy he is.
Chris is a former chef who loves travel, the outdoors and became increasingly interested in wild plants through his partner Rose who is an expert in plant identification. Together they set up Taste the Wild with the aim of promoting ‘wild foods as exciting ingredients to use in innovative ways.’
Through the seasons, their promise is to find tasty wild food: ‘tender shoots and blossoms in spring, flowers and herbs in summer, and autumn fruits and mushrooms’.Their base is an 18 acre wood and barn near Knaresborough from where they run day and weekend courses on wild food foraging and artisan skills such as bread and cheesemaking.  Their coastal fishing and foraging courses are held in Staithes and Flookburgh near Morecambe Bay. Their newest course, if you have the stomach for it and veggies look away, is ‘A Deer in a Day’ where you learn to skin, bone and joint a roe deer from the start!
To find out more and to book onto a course look at the website

Squidbeak Dinner

We held the second pair of Squidbeak dinners last Friday and Saturday at the Staithes Gallery and had the most amazing time and judging by the noise level, the clean plates and the cheers, applauds and toasts, to say nothing of the stash of empty wine bottles we took to the bottle bank, so did our diners.

Our chef, Lisa Chapman pulled it off once again with a terrific menu, all cooked in a tiny domestic kitchen with no commercial oven let alone, plate warmers, dishwashers and other catering essentials.

And the thirty odd diners – a mix of Squidbeak readers, Staithes, locals and holidaymakers took it all in good spirit and threw themselves into a convivial evening. By the end we’d eaten and drunk well, strangers had become friends and quite a few were signing up for our next pair of dinners on 28th/29th September.

Lisa @ The Gallery Menu

Feta and olive terrine with roasted red pepper coulis

Local pigeon breast salad with medlar jelly dressing, pine nuts and croutons

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Whitby sea trout baked with orange and spring thyme served with garden peas and English asparagus

Yorkshire new season rack of lamb with ratatouille

Cashew nut and courgette pot with crispy crumble topping

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Individual pavlova with elderflower cream, English summer berries and sugared elderflowers

Sacher Torte with dark chocolate sorbet

If you like the idea of a good dinner by the sea, then book now for our next diinners 28/29 September at 7.15pm: 01947 841840 or 07972 012464


Yorkshire Life

Normally, it’s Mandy that gets all the media limelight with her TV appearances but the current issue of Yorkshire Life (July) has a shot of a slap-up lobster feast in my kitchen at Staithes and the picture editor didn’t crop me out.

Annie Stirk’s engaging piece tells you all about lobster man Sean Baxter and his Real Staithes shoreline discovery walks; it has lobster recipes simple and sophisticated, all under the tutelage of Lisa Chapman who performed such wonders at our recent sell-out Lisa@TheGallery pop-up dinners.

Contain your excitement or rush out and buy in bulk.  Our next series of Squidbeak dinners, cooked by Lisa, are on  22/23 June and 28/29 September. Be there.

Squidbeak Dinner

So. Who would be mad enough to organize a pop up restaurant in a room above an art gallery in a tiny fishing village on the Yorkshire coast? And on two consecutive nights? We were. And did it work? Not half.

Our first Squidbeak dinners were held last weekend at the Staithes Gallery. Fulsome praise goes first to the amazing Lisa Chapman who somehow produced fabulous food* for 55 people from a domestic oven without throwing a single cheffy tantrum. Well almost. Her two unflappable co-workers Susie and Alison who made the room look lovely with white linen, tea lights and gleaming glasses are next in line for a round of applause followed closely by Al Milnes who owns the gallery and who somehow pulled the whole thing together with her customary charm and good humour.

You might well ask what Jill and I had to do with anything. Well we plied the unsuspecting diners with La Dolci Colline Prosecco and dusted down our waitressing skills under Susie and Alison’s expert tutelage and managed not to spill much at all. Not down a customer anyway. People came from far and wide; all sorts of folk, many of whom had never clapped eyes on us or one another before. The crowd included teachers, a photographer, a judge, a couple of café and B&B owners and Gus the musician from Baildon who just happened to be walking down the street in search of fish & chips and booked in on the spur of the moment. Nice one Gus, good to meet you.

Wines from Flourish and Prosper in Howden were from Chile: Montevista Reserve Viognier and a bio-dynamic Emeliana Reserva Pinot Noir. Even the coffee was served in mugs designed by resident Staithes artist, Rob Shaw, and the lovely people from Priorat Produce brought us a mighty bottle of their fab olive oil to raffle and generously distributed free samples to all. Thanks Tina and Neil.

There are few things more rewarding than witnessing a room full of happy eaters chatting away, glasses clinking, laughter rising. It was a blast and we can’t wait to do it all again 22/23 June and 28/29 September. Be there or be square.

*Yorkshire asparagus with hollandaise sauce went down a storm as did the shredded duck with honey and hoisin dressing. Lemon sole with herby butter was a winner and the slow cooked pork belly was just as good. There wasn’t a single portion of Lisa’s famous crème brulee with berry coulis left (grrr) so we had to content ourselves with a shared plate of chocolate roulade. It’s a tough job ..


Art + Dinner+ Wine at the Staithes Gallery

We are delighted to announce the first of a series of delicious, seasonal and sociable dinners by the sea.

Squidbeak have teamed up with local chef Lisa Chapman and our friends at the vibrant Staithes Gallery the independent wine merchants Flourish & Prosper,  to hold an evening of art, food and wine.

Evening at the Staithes Gallery



Friday & Saturday 11th/12th May & 22nd/23rd June

Staithes Gallery, High Street, Staithes TS13 5BH

A delicious, seasonal, three course dinner including wine and coffee £39.50 per person.

To book your place at the table: 01947 841840 or 07972 012464

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 Learn more: Our chef Lisa Chapman was owner of the much-loved Endeavour restaurant in Staithes for twelve years. She took the restaurant straight into the Good Food Guide where it stayed throughout her tenure. Lisa has run her own delicatessen and now cooks for private events.

The beach at Staithes

The Staithes Gallery is in a fine Georgian building in the heart of the old village. Upstairs is a splendid dining room and downstairs showcases the very best contemporary art inspired by the sea, the cliffs, the moors and the people of the area in a village that has always been a magnet for artists.

It was the convivial dinners prepared by Lisa for the residential courses run by Staithes Art School, that prompted us to link up with the Gallery for a series of Squidbeak dinners we have named  Lisa@thegallery.

The evening will begin at 7.15pm in the gallery with a welcome drink and a chance to view the work on show. We will then move upstairs for a three course dinner. Sean Welsh from the independent wine merchants Flourish and Prosper in Howden will present a choice of quality wines to match the food.

Lisa is happy to accommodate food allergies, intolerances, vegetarians and any special dietary requirements, but these should be discussed with Alison at the time of booking. Payment will be taken in full in advance.

Evening light Staithes harbour

If you would like to stay for the weekend then take a look at our reviews for Ash Cottage, Gun Gutter HouseLaura Knight’s Studio and the Longhouse. As well as these lovely self-catering cottages there a lots of other options in the village or in nearby Runswick, Sandsend and Whitby.

For your place at the table contact: or telephone 01947 841840/07972 012464.





Squidbeak Christmas

The Cod & Lobster, Staithes

We’re just back from our two week Christmas break on the coast at Staithes near Whitby. A fortnight of eating, drinking and overindulging and with everything the British weather could throw at us. Wind that sent wheelie bins clattering down the High Street. Rain that sheeted across the staith and remarkably benign days of sunshine and heart-stopping sunrises.

Highlights: The beautiful free range goose supplied by our local butcher, Richard and Marianne Lyth. Never mind David Hockney, they deserve the Order of Merit for years of serving the little community of Staithes day in day out in their traditional butcher’s shop.

Tea and cake after a cold and windy walk along the Cleveland Way  at the lovely Ship Inn, Port Mulgrave. Log fire, Sunday papers, comfy sofa’s and delicious orange cake. Whisky Macs all round at the cosy Fox and Hounds in Dalehouse among thickly varnished settles, horse brasses and Black Sheep on tap, everything an English pub should be.


Green's of Whitby

Greens of Whitby the seafood restaurant run by Rob Green and his wife Emma Stothard. We’d nipped into Whitby on an errand parked up by the Abbey and ended up having a two hour lunch. Packed out it was with everyone ordering fish after the meat excesses of Christmas. Naturally we couldn’t miss out on Rob Green’s unimprovable salt and pepper squid with lime and chilli mayonnaise and a whole red mullet special with Moroccan cous cous. And the main courses… let’s say that they made 199 steps feel like 1,999 but in a very good way. The seafood linguini was a gorgeous compendium of chunky shellfish. The Thai seafood ragout would have fed the fleet. Can’t remember the name of the smoky Sauvignon Blanc that Emma recommended but two large glasses seem to have slipped by. Our quick bite turned into a memorable blow-out for £73. Got lucky with the parking ticket, too.

Our final highlight, driving home across the North York Moors and the most glorious sunset.



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