Black Lion at Long Melford to undergo refurbishment following acquisition by Chestnut Group

The Black Lion atl Long Melford, pictured before the start of the refurbishment and renovation work

The Black Lion atl Long Melford, pictured before the start of the refurbishment and renovation work currently in progress. Picture: Ronnie McMillan/Alamy Stock Photo - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

East Anglian pub restaurant operator Chestnut Group has expanded again with the purchase of the Black Lion at Long Melford.

The Black Lion, which also includes 10 bedrooms, has now closed for refurbishment with reopening of a new-look bar and restaurant scheduled for later this year.

Philip Turner, founder of the Chestnut Group, said: “We are very excited about acquiring the Black Lion; it has a great history and fits our portfolio perfectly. Our team members and the local community are passionate about this site and are very excited about this new chapter.”

Mr Turner said the building would undergo a “sensitive” refurbishment, reflecting its character and history, with the bar, restaurant and a “garden room” due to open in the autumn and work then following on the bedrooms.

He added: “Our aim is for the Black Lion to be a place that locals are proud of and a destination of choice for the growing number of visitors to the area each year.

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“We are a Suffolk-based business investing heavily across the region to showcase what East Anglia has to offer in terms of food, attractions, countryside and hospitality.”

The Chestnut Group, established in 2012, operates the Packhorse Inn at Moulton and the Blackbirds Inn at Woodditton, both near Newmarket, the Rupert Brooke at Grantchester, near Cambridge, The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds and the White Horse at Easton, near Framlingham.

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Black Lion team members are currently working at other Chestnut Group sites while the renovation is carried out. They will be joined by the first graduate of the Chestnut Academy, set up by the group in 2015 to provide vocational training for people seeking a career in hospitality management.

Mr Turner added: “The academy has been an overwhelming success. We currently have eight fantastic students on the academy who are looking forward to starting their management career with the Chestnut Group.”

The Black Lion will serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner seven days a week, with all meals, including breakfast, open to non-residents. The group says the menu will focus on “uncomplicated and simple British food”.

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