On 15th August 2008, the Lemon Tree finally closed shop as owner and businessman, Clinton Pugh put on a brave face. He closed shop by holding a bumper sell-off sale. Almost everything was up for grabs on this inauspicious day right down to the paintings, crockery and even the kitchen sink.
By 10AM, nearly 40 odd bargain-hunters had lined up and the sale took only a couple of hours to close down. The only item in the restaurant that was not on sale was the piano in the bar that Mr. Pugh decided to hang on as he already started making plans for a brand new Lemon Tree but more in the lines of a music and food venue.
When asked for his thoughts on the closing, he said he was saddened obviously but also accepted that the Lemon Tree was a huge local success with its amazing service, staff and luxurious atmosphere but also admitted that the climate had changed and it did not auger well for such a kind of institution.
He further added that the reason for such a quick sale was because the prices were at the moment perfect and he would like to get it done quick so he can move on to other projects.
The closing of the Lemon Tree was emotional for Mr. Pugh and indeed for a few bargain-seekers too who were not there to get a bargain but to take home some memorabilia from their favourite restaurant. Take David Bellan for instance who came down from Bladon just to take back a small metal fryer and four glasses only to remember the restaurant and the time he had there. It was his wife’s favourite restaurant and they made many lovely memories there.
Likewise, Andy Gary from Chipping Norton had stopped seeing the sale sign and picked a few carpets up. He too had an emotional attachment with the Lemon Tree and made up his mind to someday open a restaurant in the same lines right in Oxford, if fortune gave me a chance and he won the lottery! Nostalgia ran heavy through the air on 15th August 2008 – the day this Oxford specialty shut shop forever.