Kettering village pub up for top award

A pub in Cranford is in the running for a top award just 18 months after it was taken on by new owners.

Saturday, 19th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 21st October 2019, 2:50 pm
The Red Lion in High Street, Cranford.

Business partners Richard Gordon and Sonya Harvey, who come from Geddington and Twywell respectively, took the reins at The Red Lion in High Street in April 2018.

Since then the pair, who have decades of experience in the trade, have transformed the pub into the heart of the community serving up the best of local produce.

And their work could be rewarded with a title after they made the final six in the Booker Food Pub of the Year category at this year's Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

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Sonya and Richard took over The Red Lion in April 2018.

Richard said: "We've invested a lot of money into the pub and our heart and soul.

"There's been blood, sweat and tears and we have come a long way in 18 months."

The pub employs 25 people and feeds up to 900 hungry diners each week.

Signature dishes included their popular pork belly and theatrical hanging kebabs, using marinated meats.

The pub's popular pork belly.

Everything is fresh and the pub uses as much local produce as they can including local lambs, venison from local shoots, pies from M.A.Coales in Kettering, potatoes and cucumbers grown in Barton Seagrave and wine from Richard's sister's vineyard in Brigstock.

Richard and Sonya both spend time preparing meals in the kitchen and said the pub had outgrown anything they had planned for.

Richard said: "We've given the village back a pub they can be proud of.

"Without the support of the village we could not be where we are."

The pub, which sells breakfasts and coffees and has a free water station for passing walkers, has also tried to make a difference when it comes to their carbon footprint.

Food waste is recycled with some going to Desborough for biofuel and they use recycled Christmas crackers with funds going to homelessness charity Shelter.

They've also got grand plans for next year having invested in their garden.

Richard added: "By Easter there will be an all-singing and all-dancing separate kitchen and gin bar outside with seating for up to 100."

The pub will find out if they have won the trophy at a glittering awards ceremony Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on November 14 with special guest Saturday Kitchen star Olly Smith.

They face competition from The Griffin’s Head in Mears Ashby, The Plough in Shutlanger, The Red Lion in East Haddon, The Saracen’s Head in Little Brington and The Walnut Tree Inn in Blisworth.

Sonya said: "Just to get to the finals is an achievement. We are really proud."