'I swore I'd never run another pub': Landlady with a magic touch reveals refurbished freehouse
PUBLISHED: 13:39 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:24 18 October 2019
A landlady who swore she would never run another pub has turned around a traditional country watering hole to an overwhelming response from patrons.
The Crown Inn at Gissing has been completely gutted by new owner Julie Reynolds, who bought the freehold back in December 2018.
Miss Reynolds has previously run a pub in Hertfordshire, but relocated to Norfolk to pursue a career in property.
She said: "I swore I'd never run another pub. It's a lot of work and I didn't enjoy aspects of living on site.
"But when this came up my daughter convinced me to have a look, and it was so different to my last pub."
Miss Reynolds has two children, Alice, 26, and Jack, 18, who both help out at the pub when they can.
The renovation of the pub took nine months, setting Miss Reynolds back £100,000.
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Its transformation saw a new kitchen fitted as well as the interiors being updated and the footprint expanded.
Miss Reynolds said: "The previous landlord had kept some of the downstairs space for private use for him and his family. We've opened that up so there's much more space now.
"We've kept the front bar more traditional because this is a real chocolate box-looking pub, and we want to keep it in style with its Grade II listing."
She added: "We did the work bit by bit because we didn't want it to become unrecognisable to the people that have been coming here for years, the local community have been so supportive.
"We've also managed to keep some of the same staff on which is brilliant because they know the regulars well, they know what beer to give them and what food they like."
The menu has also had a revamp courtesy of a new chef coming on board, who specialises in opening new kitchens.
"I was really lucky to find our chef," said Miss Reynolds. "Everyone knows there aren't many around but he really likes the challenge of setting up new places."
Miss Reynolds, who lives in New Buckenham, has just launched her Christmas menu and said she is looking forward to her first festive season in the entirely finished space.