Shropshire Star

Derelict pub set to have new gourmet lease of life after £1 million investment

An entrepreneur is investing more than £1 million into transforming a derelict pub on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border into a gourmet restaurant and bar.

The Lesters Arms is the latest venture by Billy Hutchinson

Billy Hutchinson, managing director of Lesters Packaging, has bought The New Inns between Brewood and Bishop's Wood and immediately kickstarted extensive refurbishment work that will create The Lesters Arms, described as a destination venue for discerning diners and drinkers looking for a new level of personal service, imaginative dishes and a wide selection of craft ales and signature cocktails.

More than 20 new jobs are being created as part of the project that, once completed, will boast 60 covers and a luxury lounge area for catching up with friends and family.

The Lesters Arms is the latest venture by Mr Hutchinson, who has expanded the family-run packaging business by 100 per cent in the last eighteen months and turned around the fortunes of a logistics company that now operates in the Lesters ‘supply chain’ ecosystem.

He said: "I’ve been fortunate to enjoy some fantastic establishments in the UK and overseas and have taken lots of inspiration from all of them and poured it into The Lesters Arms, a place for people to socialise and enjoy a level of food and service they can’t get anywhere else.

“The site had been earmarked for new homes, but we’ve already lost too many pubs and restaurants in Wolverhampton and Staffordshire, and I didn’t want that to happen again.

"At the same time, we knew we had to create a venue that offers something different.

“In essence, we want to create a ‘favourite’ relaxed gourmet destination for people who really enjoy life.

"The service will be warm, friendly, and attentive, the food and drink sourced from the finest local ingredients and there will be plenty of surprises along the way.

"We want people to remember their visit and return time and time again."

He added: “We are passionate about where we come from and this will be reflected in the ever-changing, locally inspired menu and, importantly, in the community events that we will hold.”

Refurbishment work started recently and should be completed in time for an early January launch event and opening.

An extensive recruitment drive is also underway, with above industry pay packages set to attract serving staff, bar tenders, head chef and kitchen personnel.

In addition to catering for diners and social crowds, the venue will also look to host corporate clients who are crying out for a location where they can stage away days or entertain customers.

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