A Michelin restaurant in Oxford, with a three month waiting list, has closed its doors.

Oli’s Thai on Magdalen Road served its last customers on February 25 and will spend the next few months transforming into Elle’s Deli.

It will be owned by the same family, who hope to open again in April after refurbishments. 

The deli wil sell Thai and Spanish foods and products - pulling together both owner's passions. 

Rufus Thurston, who co-runs Oli’s Thai and equally successful Oxford tapas bar Arbequina with his wife Ladd, said that multiple factors led to Oli’s Thai’s closure but ultimately, they were ‘in need of a change’.

The couple had also wanted to open a Deli for quite some time, but hadn't been able to find the perfect venue.

READ MORE: Michelin Guide restaurant to CLOSE forever

“It was just the right time, I think,” Mr Thurston said.

“We had done it for nearly ten years and my wife has done nearly every shift at that time.

“When you have a business that is an important part of an area it becomes hard to make that change but I think sometimes you just have to believe in yourself.

“I know how important it is for people. We will still do food and lunch menus, we’re not finished.”

Another reason behind the closure was the far-reaching impact of the pandemic, which partly caused two staff members to leave and added to the business’s concern about the staff shortages.

READ MORE: All the Oxford restaurants featured in the Michelin Guide

Over the pandemic, the transition to takeaway was difficult for the aforementioned staff members who "both came from a Michelin background, so they didn’t want to do take away". 

The couple is also hoping to spend more time with their children Elle and Oli, aged 11 and 13 respectively, who the venues are named after.

Monthly Oli's Thai nights are planned to be held at the Deli when it opens, and hot and cold lunch items are going to be sold from the store.


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