The hospitality trade is a tough place to make a living – so the owners at Weavers Wine Bar and Eating House in Diss believe they are very lucky as they approach 30 years in business.
On Saturday, April 1, the Market Hill restaurant is set to reach exactly three decades since it was first opened to customers in 1987 by William Bavin, who remains the cook to this day, and is assisted at the front of house by his wife Katrina.
Mr Bavin, who spent many years in the catering industry before launching the business, said Diss could not be beaten as a town, and he praised the very loyal customer base which has kept them going over time.
“I grew up in Diss and I feel very much a part of Diss and what’s going on here,” he said. “It’s a lovely town.
“It’s a nice feeling, because it has been a great 30 years.
“Fortunately, not a lot has changed. The essential feeling of a small market town has remained.”
The name of the restaurant, Mr Bavin explained, was selected because he wanted to pay homage to the history of the building itself, which centuries ago served as the Chapel of St Nicholas, home to a local society of weavers known as the Guild of St Nicholas.
With one eye on the future, he stated that the aim was to “continue in the same vein” and adhere to the basic philosophies that had got the business this far.
“We are not looking for a Michelin Star,” he said. “We know what people like, and we want to make sure there’s something for everyone who comes in the door.”
Mrs Bavin, who also returned to her Diss roots following her work at hotels in London, added that the hospitality business was “notorious for changes in ownership”, so they were happy the support around the local area had allowed them to stay put.
She said: “The town has been excellent. We have a huge amount of regular customers. Many have been coming for years and years – some since the first days in business.
“What’s lovely about this town is we feel like we almost know everybody.
“There have been comings and goings in that time, but it has not changed that much.
“We hope we will continue to be serving the customers of Diss for years to come.”