'Great to be up and running' - Suffolk pub serves up food days after fire destroyed kitchen
PUBLISHED: 17:20 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:20 20 August 2018
Staff at an award-winning Suffolk pub have been praised for their quick work in restoring normal service just days after a serious fire destroyed its kitchen.
The Fox Inn in Newbourne was evacuated on Sunday, August 5, as a fast moving fire neared explosive gas cylinders and threatened to destroy the entire building.
Despite suffering severe damage to the pub’s kitchen, staff were able to reopen the bar for drinks less than 48 hours after the fire – and have since resumed food service from a temporary kitchen on site.
Manager Tim Melero said the kitchen was “extremely well equipped” and was of the sort used to provide catering on location film sets.
“It’s great to be up and running and have the whole team back together,” he added.
“It’s also nice to have some semblance of normality returning and to see a few familiar faces back and enjoying our food.”
Speaking the day after the fire, Mr Melero praised firefighters’ fast work tackling the blaze, which broke out during a fully-booked Sunday food service.
Scores of customers were evacuated from the building, together with neighbouring households, after a suspected tumble dryer fire spread into the kitchen.
“We ushered everyone out into the car park and then down the road to get well away from the gas cylinder,” Mr Melero said.
“Our worst fear was that if that went up the pub would be gone.”
Mr Melero said he “feared the worst” when he saw smoke coming through the front windows of the historic 16th century section of the pub, which has earned the pub its “chocolate box” reputation.
However, firefighters were soon on the scene and quickly contained the blaze to the kitchen.
Although the kitchen has been damaged and much of the main building blackened by smoke, this historic section of the building has escaped relatively unscathed.
Lewis Culf Builders, from nearby Waldringfield, have been on the site working on an extended permanent kitchen, which is due to open in 10-12 weeks.
“It’s going to be even better than before the fire,” Mr Melero said.
The pub, which is part of the Deben Inns group of businesses, was named ‘Pub of the Year’ in the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2018.