IT is a dozen years since Graham Hindle sat sipping a pint in a country pub opposite his girlfriend’s parents house.
Now the girlfriend Clare is his wife and together they have taken over the pub, the Woolpack in Fornham St Martin.
“I never imagined that one day I would be coming in to take it over,” said Swiss-trained chef Graham.
Barely two months in, the couple have already invested £40,000 of their own money, putting in new kitchen equipment, and refurbishing the place – Clare putting her skills from her other business, Copeland Interiors in St John’s Street, to good measure.
“It was grim, very dingy,” she said. “It has been hard work, but word is getting around.”
“We wanted to create somewhere that we would want to go out to and eat,” said Graham. “We are both foodies. We came in with our own vision of a menu that we would like to do but we quickly realised that we are part of a local community and we toned it down so the food is like a traditional village pub menu but with a twist.”
They have been busy sourcing local produce for their menu while they also headhunted Layla Waller from the Bury Farmers’ Club to manage the pub on their behalf.
The Greene King pub has already become a favourite for several of the firm’s directors, and a meeting point for local clubs.
It is not just a fresh look and fresh food that is on their menu however.
The couple plan to open a village shop in an outbuilding, turn an grass area into a family petting zoo, add a hairdressers to the site, renovate seven bedrooms, and add a honeymoon suite in a grade II listed outbuilding called the Cupola.