The doors of the Walkhampton Inn are open again today (Sat Nov 18) while the new tenants scrub and scrape down in readiness to welcome customers back inside the next fortnight.
After three years closed, the old pub is set to re-open as a traditional local, open 11 am to 11 pm seven days a week, with simple food and no gastropub pretensions.
The front-of-house landlord will be Frazer Reed, 25, an occasional barman at Yelverton Golf Club, who returned home in March after three years managing a bar in Canada. But the 10-year lease was negotiated by his dad, Chris Reed, 58, who ran the Who’d Have Thought it at Milton Combe for three years until March this year.
He has hired a chef he knows and will be working with Frazer, behind the scenes.
And another son, Declan, a recent graduate in business management from Exeter University, will chip in on the marketing side.
Frazer said today: “It will be a soft opening, when we are ready, but we are aiming to be open at least for December 2, when the village Christmas lights go on. Everyone talks about the parking problem but there is parking here, at the school and the village hall, and we are negotiating. A lot of parents use our parking when picking up at the school and we have no problem with that.”
He has brought some ideas back from Canada, including a recipe for a popular dish called poutine, based on chips, gravy and cheese curd, which Brit tourists always seem to love.
Chris Reed said: “We looked at loads of pubs and this is the right one. It’s a tough market, of course, but it’s a beautiful pub and we’ve got a deal we can make work. I don’t think it’s about competing on beer prices any more. It’s about quality, warmth and atmosphere – not fine dining. We do need to get the B&B going again but that is for the longer term.”
Rumours of the re-opening have been around for some weeks but Frazer made it official with a post on the Facebook page Walkhampton Village Hub yesterday.
The news means that the Walkhampton Inn will get a start of several months on the Leaping Salmon, Horrabridge, where new owner Chris Andrews is in the course of major redevelopment and unlikely to open before early summer. Meanwhile, the Devon Tors at Yelverton looks like being redeveloped into flats.
more later …