French chef takes on Hawthorn pub

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

New look: the Crown has been refurbished over the past few months (image credit: Facebook)
New look: the Crown has been refurbished over the past few months (image credit: Facebook)
A French chef who has previously run more than 40 restaurants has taken on an Oxfordshire village pub with Hawthorn Leisure.

Multiple operator Michel Sadones moved to the UK from France in the 1970s and took on the Crown of Stadhampton in Oxfordshire last November.

Through the pub business Crafty Belle, Michel approached Hawthorn Leisure about taking on the Crown where he and his family ran it on a temporary basis for eight months.

Now, following an investment from Hawthorn and a significant contribution from Craft Belle, the Crown has been refurbished inside and out and is being run on a five-year tenancy.

Family business

A relaunch event will take place later this month (13 July), with free food and drink for invited guests who will be entertained by live bands and a DJ.

Craft Belle is a family business comprising of Michel, his sons Jo and Josh and daughters Eloise and Gabrielle.

Michel’s son Jo, who handles Crafty Belle’s marketing, said: “My father was interested in taking on a community pub in the countryside, and one that could once again be made an integral part of local people’s lives – which is something that aligns with Hawthorn Leisure’s thinking.

“The atmosphere here is very relaxed, with a pub, bar and bistro feel. The food is French pub food – simple, easy and value for money.

“In our time here, we feel we’ve really become part of the local community, with the Crown once more a thriving hub at the heart of the village. We’ve had lots of positive feedback.”

Positive outlook

Hawthorn Leisure operations managing director Mark McGinty predicted the future of the pub was positive now Michel and his family have come on board.

He said: “The Crown is a well-loved village local that had sadly declined, and faced an uncertain future until Michel and his family took it on.

“They’ve worked extremely hard, and in only eight months have achieved a remarkable turnaround of its fortunes. The Crown’s future now looks very bright indeed, and we wish Michel and the team all the very best.”

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