Arlingtons in Ipswich will reopen later this month – and these are the exciting plans
PUBLISHED: 05:31 06 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:47 06 October 2018
Historic Arlingtons restaurant in Ipswich has been sold and is set to re-open later this month, after the new owners complete a six-figure sum makeover.
Liz and Ken Ambler have handed over the reins after 10 years.
They rescued the building, the town’s original Victorian museum and later Arlingtons Ballroom, and brought it back into use.
New owners, local businessman Peter Gwizdala and his wife Alina, have exciting plans for the building - including making it a venue for live music, to highlight and give opportunities for local talent.
“It will become a new venue for Ipswich for music and entertainment as well.
“Who knows, perhaps we will discover the next Ed Sheeran?” he said.
“We will have everything from poetry readings, to jazz, blues and soul nights, DJs - but no covers.
“We are going to be supporting local bands and people playing their own music,
“My wife has a lot of experience running major events. That is very much her strength, We have run some very large events in the past for 500 people plus.
“We are hoping to have a series of resident bands too.
“We are turning it into cafe/bar/dining, from 8am to 11pm, with a new concept in dining.”
The food offering would be under the control of experienced head chef Steve Bullus and would focus on fresh and local produce.
Mr Gwizdala said the refurbishment was nearing completion, and staff were busy in training.
“We are 95% of the way there. It is a six figure refurbishment, a complete refurbishment from top to bottom.
“We absolutely adore Suffolk and Ipswich in particular. It is phenomenal.
“We are incredibly proud to be not owners of this building but looking after it for the next generation and breathing new life back into it.
“This is such a historic building. I especially proud that 100 years since women received the vote we are here. The suffragettes protested here, in this room. We are very proud of the Suffolk suffragettes - feisty women who loved to party,
“It was the first Ipswich Museum in 1847, and the staircase is Elizabethan, It came from Thomas Seckford’s Great Place which stood here on this site.
“It is full of history. Everybody knows Arlingtons.”
Chef Steve Bullas said the menu would reflect Suffolk produce. “We will be looking to use local produce as much as possible, and reduce food miles.”
Ken and Liz Ambler are moving on
The Amblers saved the derelict building 10 years ago.
Ken Ambler said: “It was a lovely building, but a bit of a black hole. It could easily have been lost.
“We had to get up in the night to put buckets out to collect the rain because the skylights had gone.
“It really was a mess. We spent a lot of money and most of the budget went on conservation.
“It was our passion really and we brought something new to the town.
“We kept the Arlingtons name because a lot of people had met their partners here, when it was a dance hall in the 50s.”
“We have had a lot of loyal customers,” added Mrs Ambler.
Arlingtons had employed around 25 people at one time, Mr Ambler said. “And some our managers have used it as a training school for their own careers and have moved on.
“That is our legacy too.”
And will they run another restaurant?
Mr Amber added:“We are taking stock at the moment. I am sure something will come up, perhaps something smaller.”