The new owners of Ipswich's first vegan pub and restaurant say they have received "amazing" support from the town after stepping in to stop the venue from closing.

Two weeks ago, husband and wife Shaun Warner and Elora Timms, who live in Ipswich, were employees working at the pub on St Helen's Street.

This was before the founders of the business, Geoffrey Bligh and Philip Rivers, who launched the firm back in 2019, announced it would be closing after being let down by an investment.

The couple had never planned on taking on the business, but said they decided they didn't want to see the pub close.

Ipswich Star: The new owners of Hank's, Shaun Warner and Elora Timms.The new owners of Hank's, Shaun Warner and Elora Timms. (Image: Elora Timms)

Ms Timms said: "My husband and I had worked for Hank's for more than four years. We decided we didn't want to see it close, and step in and take over the Ipswich branch as our own company.

"It was an absolute surprise. We found out about the closure on the Tuesday, by Thursday we had decided to take over, and then by Sunday we were back open.


"It has been very exciting. We're both feeling great about it, and the amount of support that we've had from people all over Ipswich has been amazing, and from our regular customers.

"It's been so lovely to step in and have all this support from everybody."

Ipswich Star: Hank's pub in St Helen's Street.Hank's pub in St Helen's Street. (Image: Newsquest)

She added: "It's a homely, relaxed and open place here. When you walk into the pub, you feel like you've walked into your local."

The couple have plans to support local artists and breweries, and continue with live music and quiz nights, open mic events, and their first quiz night as the new owners next week and they are already nearly fully booked.

Hank's Dirty was initially a takeaway launched in Lloyds Avenue, which then expanded into restaurant venues in St Helen's Street, Felixstowe, Norwich, Colchester and Cambridge.

Ipswich Star: Geoffrey Bligh and Philip Rivers outside Hank's Deli & Shop in Carr Street before it closed.Geoffrey Bligh and Philip Rivers outside Hank's Deli & Shop in Carr Street before it closed. (Image: Archant)
The business opened a vegan supermarket in the former Maplin store in Carr Street.

In early 2020, it took over the former Grinning Rat pub in St Helen's Street which quickly became popular with its mixture of vegan food and real ale.

The Ipswich shop later closed in January 2022, but the pub proved popular and it expanded to take on a takeaway unit at Beach Street in Felixstowe.