New landlords hope to serve up Thai food in suburban pub
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
A chef who used to run restaurants on the other side of the world has praised the welcoming community spirit after getting behind the bar of a suburban pub.
Husband and wife team, Mark and Nia Hawkes, 46 and 45, have taken on the lease of The Crown pub on Norwich Road in New Costessey after its previous managers left the Stonegate Group business last month after receiving noise complaints from neighbours.
Mr Hawkes, who trained as a chef at City College Norwich aged 18, reopened the doors at the end of last month after moving in on July 19.
He said: "The people who have come into the pub so far have been brilliant. It has been fantastic. Everyone has welcomed us.
"It is hard work in the kitchen so meeting people for me is perfect. My wife has also always got a smile on her face and is always welcoming. We want everyone to come in.
"A lot of people are happy the pub is continuing. They were very sad and surprised when the previous managers left."
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Mr Hawkes ran 12 pubs in Bangkok and Singapore for eight years which is when he met his wife of 16 years.
The couple, who have a 13-year-old son, moved back to the UK around 2012.
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They ran the former Brickmakers pub in Horsford for over three years, which they left six years ago and he helped cook meals for Aylsham's Black Boys Hotel during lockdown.
Mr Hawkes said he "jumped at the chance" to take on The Crown and praised the improvements to the beer garden put on by its previous managers.
The new landlord wants to focus on real ales and a simple food menu, featuring Thai dishes cooked by his wife, as well as establishing a pool team and darts sessions.
He also wants to put on live music but will consult with neighbours first.
Mr Hawkes added: "Now is the perfect time to take on a pub. A lot of pubs have closed which is sad but people are gagging to come back and meet their friends."