The licensees of a newly-renamed pub in Wortham have defended its name change and hope £150,000 worth of improvements will help it become the heart of the community.
The Manor House, in The Street, is the new name for the Dolphin Inn, the village’s remaining public house, which reopened at the end of last week.
About £150,000 has been spent by Star Pubs and Bars, owned by Heineken, on a “complete overhaul” of the interior and exterior of the premises. This has included new toilets, a brand new bar and restaurant, and patio areas at the front and back of The Manor House.
The pub, run by licensees Johnny Parr, who looks after another three pubs in Lincolnshire, and experienced chef Nish Intrabel, will offer Thai and English good, but aims to retain its bar element, continuing with its pool and darts teams, and offering live music.
Sabrina Iredale, Mr Parr’s partner, who has helped with the reopening and improvements of the pub, said the name represented a “fresh start” for the pub — although she conceded some residents had visited the newly-renamed public house with their concerns. It is believed the Dolphin Name dated back to the mid 1800s.
She told the Diss Express: “Johnny took over a year ago and said to the brewery ‘it is not going to go anywhere unless you do something with it’ and put his foot down. They have spent £150,000 and breweries don’t normally do that.
We said it’s either change the name, or the pub dies a death and it closes downSabrina Iredale
“Because we are changing the whole place, they (Star Pubs and Bars) wanted to leave The Dolphin behind, because it didn’t work.
“The Dolphin wasn’t working, it had to be changed. It has upset a lot of the villagers.
“Saying that, some have come in, looked at the place, and said ‘we are alright with the name change’.
“We said it’s either change the name, or the pub dies a death and it closes down.”
Mr Parr added: “I think they have looked for something a little more upmarket and now they are going to get it. Nish, my business partner, he has worked for me before and he is a fantastic chef. I think everyone is going to love his food, and it is not all about Thai. His last job in London was purely English food but he is very good at both. It’s going to be a challenge but the response has been very positive.
“I have three other pubs one of which, The Stone Loach in Market Deeping, we opened a year ago with a Thai food offer. It’s been a huge success and we’ve been fully booked every weekend for the last 12 months. Seeing the popularity of Thai food there, gave us the idea for The Manor House.”