Food & Drink Awards 2018

Page 62 LUX 2018 Food & Drink Awards The Boat Inn is a family run business providing delicious fresh food and a vast selection of craft beers, real ales and fine wines. As part of our overview of a selection of winners from the Food & Drink Awards for 2018 we invited Susan Barnes to tell us more. The Boat Inn Awarded: Pub of the Year 2018 - Rugby Situated in a wonderful canal side setting, The Boat Inn offers its guests a selection of fine beers and wines, as well as homely food and a warm welcome. Susan explains how she and her family came to own the establishment and how they have made their mark on it over the years. “Three years ago, my husband and I decided to have a mid-life crisis and run a pub. A local canal-side pub came on the market and although it had a small loyal following it was, essentially, very run down and in need of a complete refurb. It was a massive challenge as neither of us had any experience of any of it, from the refurb, to running a pub and everything in between. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, we rolled up our sleeves and got on with the challenge. “Today at the Boat Inn our clients are from all walks of life and from all over the world. The canal brings with it a vast cross-section of people, as does the passing traffic and locals. The food we serve is all home cooked and my husband, the chef, is second to none with the dishes he serves. Everything is thought up in his head, nothing from a recipe book – which can be interesting for his sous-chefs, but somehow it works, they learn from him, copy him and turn out the most amazing dishes.” Since inception Susan and her team have worked to make the establishment a bastion of local hospitality, and she is understandably proud of how far it has come. “When we bought the pub, it was a classic canal side pub doing fast pre-prepared food, we are still coping with people’s expectations that a quick bite to eat, usually from the microwave, is what we are serving. Over time we have managed to change that perception and our regulars and customers that have dined here before they know that the wait for their food is well worth it and that they receive far beyond what they would expect, especially with the Specials. We now have customers that come in with the sole purpose of experiencing the new and exciting. It has taken time and I am sure we will always have customers that are expecting the ‘ping and fling’ but I am sure that when the leave they are more than pleasantly surprised. “The whole experience has been a labour of love, and we have worked hard to develop our establishment into something we and our guests can enjoy. We finished the initial refurb in February 2016 and haven’t stopped since. We have converted the outside Barn twice with its own bar and three TV’s for sporting events, private hire and our own special events, which include Beer, Cider and Gin Festivals throughout the year. We now have a covered decking area, with heaters for year-round outside seating. The menu is changed with each season and Matt is constantly coming up with new ideas for the Specials Menu, his food, according to most of our customers cannot be beaten.” As she looks to the future Susan firmly believes that the Boat Inn will continue to flourish over the years ahead thanks to her family’s passion and dedication to excellence. “Having come this far, we still have much to achieve at the Boat Inn, and over the coming years we are keen to continue improving the large rear garden and put in some individual dining areas. We would also love to expand the dining area in the pub but first a new, larger kitchen is in order. As we have achieved a great deal over the past three years we are confident that the three to come will be even better.” Company: The Boat Inn Contact: Susan Barnes Address: Birdingbury Wharf, Rugby Road, Birdinbury, CV23 8HQ, UK Phone: 01926 812657 Website: