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A BUSINESS owner has said he is surprised and thrilled that his restaurant has been included in the latest edition of The Good Food Guide.
The Bridgewater Arms in Winston, near Barnard Castle, has been included in the new 2015 book which is due out later this month.
Paul Grundy, 49, said he received the letter last week telling him his restaurant had been listed as one of the top places to eat out.
He said: “We are really glad to be included again and we would like to thank our customers because it’s them who have written in to recommend us.
“I wasn’t expecting it, you never know you whether you’ll be in or not, you just have to hope you will be included but it doesn’t always happen. I’m thrilled we have got back in.
“It potentially could boost business because a lot of people take a lot of notice of The Good Food Guide. It’s good to be recognised, I absolutely love what I do.”
Mr Grundy has been in the industry for thirty years, 24 of which were spent at The Black Bull, in Moulton, which was also included in previous editions of the guide.
PUT IT THERE: Chef Paul Grundy shakes the hand of Alan Hardy, the regular who ended the uncertainty by buying the pub
FOR the past six years Alan Hardy has enjoyed regular visits to his local village pub, tucking into the tasty food served up by its chef proprietor.
The 70-year-old businessman was also impressed by the way Paul Grundy had taken the Bridgewater Arms, at Winston, near Barnard Castle, and turned it from “an ordinary pub” into “an asset for the village.”
So when discussions over a new lease between Mr Grundy and the brewery owners stalled, Mr Hardy decided to take matters into his own hands - he bought the pub himself.
“Paul deserved to have somebody to support him and I was just fortunate I had the funds at the right time. It was a fortuitous coming together,” he said.
Mr Grundy took over at The Bridgewater Arms in 2008 after 24 years at The Black Bull, Moulton.
Matters came to a head in July when Mr Grundy's lease at Winston ended and a temporary manager was appointed to take over. Mr Hardy said: “I was very disappointed to hear Paul had difficulties renewing the lease and was about to leave the operation. After the event, I approached the brewery and inquired whether there was the possibility of acquiring the freehold. We agreed a purchase and I spoke to Paul. He confirmed he would be very pleased to continue running the operation on a long-term basis.”
Mr Hardy's background couldn't be further from the pub trade. After working in engineering for a number of years, he set up his own company supplying pipeline fittings and valves to the petrochemical industry. He described his purchase of The Bridgewater Arms as a “one off” to secure its future, but also as a commercially sensible deal.
“I have had a lot of pleasure here and will continue to do so,” said Mr Hardy, who lives near Piercebridge. “It is nice to be able to preserve a facility like this in the village, but is is a commercial investment from my point of view. I don't invest in equipment – it's the personnel who add value to the business and that's what I have bought here. Paul is what makes the place successful. The feedback I have received from people I have spoken to has been very positive. They had said how much they were going to miss Paul and what a shame it was for the village.”
Mr Grundy said he was delighted to be back.
“We had built up a successful business here and this was the perfect opportunity to come back on a freehold basis," he added. “Word is getting round. When I left in July, I had 200 email addresses from customers wanting me to inform them when I found somewhere. “I have now emailed them all individually.”
He received the keys to the pub last week and was back offering a full menu by the weekend.
“We had a busy Friday and Saturday, with a lot of regular customers and quite a few from the village.”
Mr Grundy plans to run the pub much the same as before, with lunch and dinner available Tuesday to Saturday.
BACK in the summer, Spectator challenged brewers Greene King to sue him over remarks made in an Eating Out review of the Bridgewater Arms at Winston.
We thought it was a travesty that landlord Paul Grundy, who had built up an enviable reputation for the quality of the food at the inn betwixt Darlington and Barnard Castle, was having to leave because he would not accept Greene King’s terms for a new lease.
We said it symbolised everything that was wrong with the British pub industry, dominated as it is by pub companies determined to extract the last drop of profit from community assets like village pubs.
Greene King didn’t rise to the bait and Mr Grundy left the pub in July, laying off his staff, and looking for another business opportunity.
It turns out his future lay back at the Bridgewater, for Green King have seen the error of their ways and decided to sell the freehold – to Mr Grundy.
He re-opens today, with wife Kathryn at his side, as well as a number of the former staff. It is a great story of one man’s victory over corporate greed and incompetance.
Our new seasonal dishes
Freshly served: once again, we offer you our specials menu with a wide variety of seasonal dishes.
The Bridgewater Arms
Tuesday to Saturday
12:00 - 3.00 and 6:00 - 11:00pm
Tuesday to Saturday
12.00-2.00 & 6.00-9.00
FEATURED IN : -
The Good Pub Guide 2017
Michelin Eating Out In Pubs 2017
The Good Food Guide 2017
The UK Seafood Restaurant Guide 2013
AA Good Pub Guide 2016
Alastair Sawday's Pubs & Inns of England & Wales 2016
How about a walk down to the Winston bridge, imagine the spitfire flying beneath it, then along the river banks, back up through the woods towards the church, take in the view, then call in the village pub for a lovely, refreshing pint of local & select real ales, 20 minutes for the walk, as long as you llke in the pub!