Owners of new Kenilworth restaurant ‘delighted’ at reception since opening day

  Posted: 04.06.21 at 14:23 by The Editor

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The new owners of a Kenilworth restaurant have said that they are ‘delighted’ with the support the town has shown in their first three weeks of business.

The Cottage Inn, on Stoneleigh Road, was taken over by husband and wife team Mick Griffin and Samantha Heslop-Griffin in 2020, but the couple had not been able to open their doors due to the pandemic.

Following substantial renovations of the old pub, the Cottage Inn finally reopened on May 18 2021 serving reasonably-priced, freshly cooked dinners in a comfortable surrounding.

The pub, which is owned by Charles Wells brewery, has both a family dinning area, as well as seating just for adults. This as well as an extensive menu and a daily specials board means that Mick and Samatha hope to be catering to everyone’s needs.

Speaking to Kenilworth Nub News Mick said: “We have been trading for over two weeks now, and we have had lots of great feedback.

“The people have been lovely, they have been coming in and it has been great. We have also been putting feedback cards out, but everyone has been saying its all great, so to be honest I want something we can do better on.

Mick and Samantha has fitted a completely new bar

“Although maybe I have got it wrong, maybe we have done everything perfectly, but I doubt it!”

Road to opening

Former mental health nurse Samantha started her hospitality business with her daughter when the two of them ran a burger van.

From there they bought a café, and then took over Longford Engine pub four years ago. Then 18 months later they took over the Rose and Woodbine in Coventry, and shortly after the Railway Inn in Leamington Spa.

However, it was a restaurant that Samantha had her heart set on. So when the Cottage Inn became available the couple leapt at the chance.

The bar before renovation

“We saw this come up for sale, and we came and looked round a few times whilst it was open,” says Mick. “We liked the bar bit, but also the potential for a bigger restaurant so its more 70:30 towards the food.”

Builder Mick did the majority of the refurbishments himself with the help of other trusted local tradesmen. They have put in a new bar, new carpets and completely redecorated the whole of the interior.

Following the setbacks of multiple national lockdowns, the fact that the pub was not eligible for government financial support, and the fact that their chiller actually broke on the first day of business, Mick did wonder whether the property was more of a curse than a blessing.

“The first day we were supposed to open inside, on the Monday, the cooler broke down.

“I was starting to say to her [Samantha] ‘that this place might be cursed, every time we try and open it something happens’, but thankfully we got it open the next day.”

Then vs Now

Despite the mishaps however, the couple have said that they are pleased they stuck with the project.

“The people of Kenilworth have welcomed us it, have supported us, and we have settled in really well, we’re delighted really.”

What’s next?

Whilst the restaurant itself is now taking bookings Mick is still eager to finish renovations to the beer garden. This as well as to the rooms above the pub to eventually offer a full bed and breakfast service.

The team are also trying to take feedback from customers to perfect their menu in the coming weeks.

The Cottage Inn now has adult-only as well as family-friendly dining areas

Mick said: “At the moment we have an extensive menu out, but in a few weeks we will tweak it to tailor it to what people want.

“We have had lots of feedback on social media as well, so have tailored what we serve to what people want.”

In particular, they will be asking chef Luke Jones to put on more vegan options following feedback from diners.

If you would like to book a table at the Cottage Inn, then please follow this link to the website.

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