One of the county’s oldest and best known pubs will throw open its doors under new owners tomorrow (Thursday) - and it promises to be a real family affair.
The future of the Sebastopol Inn in Minting was in doubt after previous owners stopped trading.
Attempts were made to finalise a community ‘buy-out’ but that failed.
Now, husband and wife Steve and Wendy Hughes have emerged as the Sebastopol’s ‘saviours’.
While they will be busy in the bar, daughter Zara will be hard at work in the kitchen.
Steve and Wendy say they are relishing the challenge of putting the Sebastopol at the ‘heart of the community’.
The venue previously earned several awards for the quality of its food but the couple stress they have their own ‘recipe’ for success.
Wendy said: “We will be a pub that serves food - not a restaurant that serves beer.
“The food will be of a high standard - Zara will make sure of that - but we want people to come here and have a relaxed time.
“If they want good quality food at a good price, great. If they want to sit in a corner with a pint and a paper that’s also fine.”
The couple met when they worked for North Lincolnshire Council.
Steve was an Environmental Health Officer while Wendy also worked in Environmental Health, dealing mainly with noise pollution.
They decided on a major - and sudden - career change and bought a run down pub in Cornwall.
They spent 15 years, establishing the pub as a highly popular venue.
Steve added: “Everyone thought we were mad when we bought the pub and there were times we wondered as well, especially in the early days!
“It was hard work but we really enjoyed it.”
The couple sold up and moved back to Lincolnshire.
They bought a property in Bleasby Moor, near Market Rasen, and added a cattery.
Wendy added: “We enjoyed that as well but we really missed running our own pub.”
The couple looked at several premises before settling on the Sebastopol which they secured after what they admit was a ‘protracted process.’
They were guests of honour at a welcoming party organised by villagers and have all kinds of exciting plans for the future.
Wendy added: “We’re very aware of how the business was run under the previous owners, but want something different.
“It is a difficult time generally for the industry but we’re fortunate we are not in this to make pots and pots of money.
“Yes, we need it to be a success but being a part of the community is what is important to us. People have been so welcoming. We could not be happier - or more excited.”
Apart from the pub, the couple are offering a quality holiday let in a converted barn at the site. They could expand that side of the businesses in time.
Initially, the Sebastopol will be open on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Further details are on the pub website.