A CELEBRATED Altrincham restaurant, which once held Greater Manchester’s only Michelin star, has closed - and a cloud now hangs over its future.

Juniper, a former one-star Michelin eaterie located on The Downs, was due to re-open last Tuesday after a short winter break.

But a spokesman said it would remain closed while chef Michael Riemenschneider and his business partner Bill Treloar tried to resolve issues relating to the companies behind Juniper and another restaurant, The Abbey, in Cornwall.

Last October Riemenschneider took over the fine dining venue from successful chef Paul Kitching.

In February 2008 Juniper retained its status as Greater Manchester's only Michelin-starred fine dining venue, after the guide awarded it a bauble for the 11th consecutive year.

However, last month Juniper lost its star and the spokesman added: “This is not in any way a shock because it was physically impossible for Juniper to retain its star. Michael Riemenschneider only took over in October which meant Michelin inspectors simply did not have enough time to fully inspect it.

“We are and always were looking to the 2010 guide. In the meantime we’re benefiting from the massive and universal acclaim which Juniper has enjoyed from press critics since Michael took the helm.”

And in relation to the closure he said: "While a resolution is being sought both restaurants will remain closed. As discussions are ongoing it is not possible to release further information at this time nor respond to speculation regarding the future of the restaurants.

"It is hoped that more detailed information may be released shortly.”

Juniper first opened its doors in November 1995 and garnered huge acclaim.

Celebrity chef Gordan Ramsay said: "Paul is pure talent, driven by a great creative energy; a powerhouse of the north."

Aside from its Michelin star – which it earned in 1997 – Juniper gained four AA rosettes and in 2003 was named as England’s Restaurant of the Year by the Good Food Guide.