gastropubs

Closure: Great British Menu winner to shut award-winning Hampshire gastropub

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

The Plough Inn: "People just don't seem to visit the pub that much in the area we're in"
The Plough Inn: "People just don't seem to visit the pub that much in the area we're in"

Related tags: Great british menu, British, British people, Inn

Acclaimed chef James Durrant has announced he plans to close his Hampshire gastropub the Plough Inn, Longparish.

Durrant took over the pub, which featured in the Top 50 Gastropubs​ list for three consecutive years, in 2012. It placed 4th in 2015's awards. 

But despite receiving numerous accolades for his cooking and appearing on shows such as BBC2’s Great British Menu,​ he said the business was not financially sustainable.

“We’re basically not making a good enough living out of it for a sustained future. I have a wife and three kids and I want something stable for a long term future,” he said.

Inconsistent

“It’s so inconsistent that it’s become pretty stressful after three and a half years. I think the big thing is that we haven’t got local drinkers – that habits and culture have changed and people just don’t seem to visit the pub that much in the area we’re in."

He said his next venture would be London-based and that more details would be announced in the near future.

Durrant initially opened the Plough with an eye to creating a local hub and doing ‘reasonable’ food, but decided to take a higher-end approach when he realised his initial strategy was not producing a sustainable turnover.

Upset

“[The community] is upset but I think they’ll all hold their hands on their hearts and say they don’t use the pub as often enough as it would need to survive. But I’m realistic – they’re not going to be in there every night of the week,” he said, adding that being tied on everything except for wine and facing high rent had also been a contributing factor in his decision.

“I’ve been so lucky in myself that I’ve had the opportunity to go on Great British Menu​ and be on TV but if I can get that much exposure yet still not fill my pub then how else do I get people through the door?

“It’s an expensive business to run and it only works if you’re full lunch and dinner – unfortunately we’re not.”

The Plough’s final service will be held on Christmas Eve. 

Related topics: Other operators, News, Chefs

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