Back in business! Popular pub celebrates happy new year after closing twice during 2019
PUBLISHED: 18:59 04 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:34 14 January 2020
The new landlord at a historic Suffolk pub which closed down twice last year is looking ahead to a successful 2020.
Onur Ozcelik, new landlord of the Long Melford Swan, said regulars had been delighted to see the pub reopen ahead of the festive period and had given him and his team a warm welcome.
"We have had lots of local people coming in," he said. "Everything is going better than I'd planned.
"I am so pleased for my regular customers - we have had amazing support."
The Swan, a well-known gastro-pub, suddenly closed down in April 2019, along with The Lavenham Greyhound and The Hadleigh Ram, due to the collapse of former holding company Stuart Inns Ltd.
All three pubs found new owners, with the Swan being taken over by service giant Atalian Servest.
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However, in September, just four months after the pub reopened, there was another shock for customers, as it closed again when Atalian Servest pulled out.
Greene King, which owns the building but leases it out, launched a search for a new tenant, and Mr Ozcelik reopened the pub at the end of October, in time for the Christmas and New Year period.
Mr Ozcelik, who is originally from Turkey, has lived in the UK for 14 years, and loves Suffolk.
He has cordon bleu training and has also worked in ecommerce, but decided he wanted to run a pub. "I just wanted to know my customers and have a real connection," he said.
He and his team have created new menus with dishes ranging from rib eye steaks and smoked applewood burgers to vegetarian and vegan delicacies such as wild mushroom and truffle risotto. They also offer Sunday lunches and a bar menu.
All the ingredients used are fresh, Mr Ozcelik said, adding that dining at the Swan is now more affordable than in the past.
The Swan has just held a New Year's Eve party with a five-course tasting menu, and it also held a Christmas party for customers. It has also staged music events, including a live soul evening with music from MJ Soul, with more live music planned in the future.
As well as its dining offer, it offers the opportunity to book a stay, with three rooms available to book.