Florist and architect join forces to give 16th century Suffolk pub, The Weeping Willow, Barrow, new lease of life
- Credit: Clive Nichols
A celebrated florist and architect have joined forces to open a Suffolk pub.
Paula Pryke OBE and husband, Peter Romaniuk, a top architect, have re-opened The Weeping Willow in Barrow, Bury St Edmunds following a major renovation.
The 16th century pub, which opened at the end of September and began serving food in October, underwent a nine-month restoration and expansion.
The family-friendly venue, which includes a private dining room and a public one which can accommodate up to 60 diners, also welcomes dogs and stocks specially selected ales, beers, ciders and fruit cordials, as well as a bar which has been design to offer ale at one end and Champagne at the other.
Newly-appointed head chef Nick Claxton-Webb, who previously worked at The Leaping Hare and Ickworth Hotel, is working alongside pub manager Martin Edwards.
“As an architect creating the right design and ambiance was relatively straight forward, albeit one which had to balance our desire to create Suffolk’s first ‘modern’ pub with the existing Grade 2 listed building and people’s expectations on what a country pub should look and feel like,” said Peter.
“Getting the right staff, organising ourselves, finding out how to look after beer, etc was a complete unknown to us.
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“We were very lucky to find our brilliant head chef Nick Claxton-Webb and who then recommended our very talented manager Martin Edwards. These two people have lifted all the pressure from us and are effectively bringing their talents and skills to build a successful pub and kitchen which will operate for seven days a week and allow us to enjoy the experience.”
The pub looks “absolutely stunning”, he said, and had been well received by local villagers, who were given a sneak preview.
“We are confident that with the support of Barrow village we can create a country pub of great character which will be a benefit and social hub for the village rather then just a drinking den,” he said.
“We are opening at 11am in the morning through to 11pm at night and will serve morning coffee as well as afternoon tea and cakes.
“We hope that we can encourage other village groups that would not normally use a pub to gather and meet.”