A landlord has revealed his plan to restore a pub to its former glory after it was badly damaged by fire – by reopening it as a smokehouse.
The Hooden on the Hill in Ashford was gutted by fire in November 2016, and has been closed ever since for building work.
Despite delays, work on the Grade II listed building has progressed, and the roof was set to be pitched this week and the scaffolding ready to be taken down.
Now landlord Howard Lapish has announced plans for the name of the pub to change to The Hooden Smokehouse and Cellar.
He said: “We looked at trends and what is current at the moment, and while Mexican food is still in growth, we decided instead of being just Mexican we would do American barbecue and smoked food.
“A lot of places go for the gastro-pub approach, but I prefer a pub that will do casual dining, and we’ve already had some positive feedback about the change.”
Mr Lapish said the new restaurant kitchen will include an American smoker, enabling a new team of chefs to cook briskets, pulled pork, ribs, burgers and steaks, alongside Mexican dishes like fajitas.
He said: “Like with all changes, we are always a bit nervous. We have not seen how the pub looks yet, and until it is handed over we won’t know what it will look like, but it will still be in touch with what it was before.”
The target for the official opening of the new restaurant and pub will be Wednesday, March 21. For more information search for The Hooden Smokehouse and Cellar on Facebook.