THE BEAR AND RAGGED STAFF PRESS RELEASE.
We are delighted to be the first to confirm the rumours are true, local residents Martin Hilton & Brian Mellor are to re-open The Bear & Ragged Staff and once more make it a focal point in the village.
They are both well-known industry professionals passionate about great food, drink and hospitality who have been looking for a venture close to home for some time. More recently Martin has developed an award-winning craft beer and food concept in the Midlands and Brian as you may know established Harthill Cookery School in 2011.
Thanks to Tattenhall Running Club, it was an unlikely meeting on Harthill Green that struck up a conversation between the pair one Summer's evening several years ago.
'I went out to snip some herbs for a dish I was cooking' said Brian, 'the Tattenhall Runners were gathering in the village ahead of a run. I knew a few of them so we were having a chat, Martin introduced himself and we started to share our similar passion for food & drink. The seed was sown.
Martin told us 'the timing wasn't right back then, but occasional conversations developed into more regular and serious ones and the desire to do something together grew, encouraged by our friends in the village, we set up Harthill Pub Co and started to look for a site'.
The pair told us 'our background is in running great pubs and hospitality training and we wanted to bring that experience closer to home. We always felt, however that we needed a third person in the team. During conversations with another friend, Tattenhall resident and investor, Richard Payne-Gill, it became clear that he shared our vision and had the skills and experience to complete the team.'
As we know, the beloved Bear was lying empty at the heart of the village looking a little forlorn following a period of neglect and at risk of being developed into houses.
The trio have ambitious plans to restore the pub & renovations are well under way. Richard added 'it's a wonderful building which we are working hard to restore and by making a significant investment we will create something special. We have a shared vision to create a cracking pub restaurant with rooms that will be a venue for the village and a destination for people from the surrounding area.'
The focus of course is on great food and drink, chef Brian has a well-deserved reputation for developing great talent for the hospitality industry; this year he received an outstanding contribution award from Taste Cheshire as well as being named Cheshire Life Food Hero of the year. Martin is one of only a handful of beer sommeliers in the country and his previous venture won best beer pub in the Great British Pub awards.
It's not just about the food and drink. The pub has a first-floor function room which will be reopened along with the addition of eight en-suite bedrooms to provide a fantastic venue for celebrations, events and meetings, it will also provide an attractive and interesting space for the corporate market too.
'the possibilities emerging from our combined skills, contacts and development of an independently owned free of tie pub are so exciting. At the heart of it all is great food, drink and hospitality, we look forward to sharing further news as the project evolves.'