In the face of fierce competition, The White Lion in Wheatacre come top of the pack in South Norfolk Council’s Pub of the Year Competition.
The announcement was made today (8 October) at a special early morning award ceremony held at last year’s winning pub The Green Dragon in Wymondham.
South Norfolk Councillor Keith Kiddie said:
“Thank you to everyone who voted in the competition, it just goes to show how much people value their local pub. We had some excellent category winners and it was a tough decision, but in the end, we were so impressed by how far The White Lion had come in just a year since it had opened.
“Huge congratulations to landlord Jay Meades, his dedication and determination have resulted in a wonderful pub that can be enjoyed by the whole community.”
Jay Meades said “This is just fantastic news. I would like to thank my whole team and also all of the customers who nominated us.”
Jay reopened the rural pub in Wheatacre last November and since then, people have been travelling miles for the tasty food, warm welcome and lovely atmosphere.
Jay, who had never run a pub before said: “I was working off shore as an electrical engineer but was also running an events company that catered for weddings. I had always had a soft spot for the pub and could see the place had huge potential.”
When the tenancy came up, he jumped at the chance and spent 3 months completely refurbishing the place, including the bar, restaurant and B&B rooms upstairs.
“Since we reopened we have been overwhelmed by the amount of custom we’ve had, with people travelling as far as Ipswich for our Sunday Roasts.”
Jay puts his success down to the warm welcome his team provides to all his customers. He said: “We have something for everyone, whether you are fresh from a dog walk with muddy boots and looking for a bite to eat in the bar by the fire, or would like an intimate meal in our restaurant.”
Terry Stalk from Pub is the Hub helped judge the competition, he said: “All of the winning pubs are excellent examples of how to get it right. They are making impressive contributions to their communities and it’s wonderful that this is being recognised through the Council’s competition.”
Nearly 1,000 people voted in South Norfolk Council’s competition, which is now in its tenth year. The White Lion will receive £500 to put towards a community event.
The winners in each category were:
Outstanding Community Focus: The Burston Crown
Best Customer Service: The White Lion Wheatacre
Most Family Friendly: Netherton House, Long Stratton
Tastiest Food and Drink: The Green Dragon, Wymondham
For more information, visit www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/pubs