THE ‘Magnificent Seven’ have ridden to the rescue to make sure their award-winning village pub stays open.
They clubbed together to keep open the only pub in Lidgate after forming a consortium to buy control from Greene King, which had run it with tenants.
At the helm of the ‘rescue party’ is Steve Cook who was working at the 16th century Star Inn and has now been backed by six locals determined to make sure it stays in business.
“It is the only pub in the village and has an incredible reputation,” said Steve.
“Whatever the cost, the locals decided it had to stay.”
Steve, 30, who previously ran the restaurant at a hotel in the Cotswolds, has already introduced one major change – many of the items on the menu have been cut in cost by as much as 15-30 per cent, without sacrificing quality.
Its famed Catalan cooking has been strengthened as a second Spanish chef, Marq Currius, has arrived to join his brother Gil.
The Star Inn twice won the Daily Telegraph’s ‘perfect pub’award, which considers how customers are treated as well as the quality of food and drinks.
The consortium includes a longstanding Camra member and the new free house status has enabled the owners to offer a range of real ales with a focus on local East Anglian brewers.
There will be added emphasis, too, on locally-sourced food, although its wide Tapas menu will be authentic and imported from Spain.
Another initiative introduced by Steve is a loyalty card scheme to reward customers and a free taxi service home for parties of eight or more who dine in the restaurant, which has been fully booked most nights since The Star was taken over by the seven, who each have contributed varying stakes.
The Star, a Grade II listed building in a conservation area, was built at the time of the Spanish Armada and while as a ‘beer house’ in the 19th century, it acquired its name. Further details at www.lidgatestar.co.uk or Steve Cook on 01638 500275.