Builder of 15 years puts down tools and opens smokehouse restaurant
- Credit: Gary Maudlin/East Coast Digital
A builder who was forced to stop work after an injury has swapped his tools for kitchen utensils at his new restaurant for meat-lovers.
Buffalo Bills Smokehouse restaurant has opened at the former Cozies building in Gorleston.
The business first launched for takeaways in June last year, after owner Mark Haylett got the keys to the site in Baker Street.
The 33-year-old had been a builder for 15 years, but after sustaining an injury to his back he had no choice but to stop.
"It would have been nice to carry on in the building trade," he said. "I really enjoyed my work and I built a good reputation but unfortunately that’s what happened.
"Only being at 31 at the time, I knew I still had a long career ahead of me so I needed to find something else."
This unfortunate turn of events gave him the opportunity to follow his passion for food.
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Mr Haylett, from Gorleston, had grown up around the hospitality industry having helped out his father who owned the Bistro Cafe and Frydays fish and chip shop in Great Yarmouth.
But he had always wanted to open his own restaurant.
"When the opportunity came to take this on, I decided to go for it," he said.
"My family thought I was mad but I have always been one for taking a risk. I have put everything I have into this."
Now the 200-year-old building has been completely transformed into modern smokehouse with an industrial-style interior.
Buffalo Bills Menu includes burgers, slow smoked "melt in your mouth" brisket, pulled pork with mustard barbeque sauce, baby back ribs, Oklahoma smoked sausages and chicken wings.
There are also vegetarian and vegan options.
From January 30 the business will also open every Sunday offering roast dinners with brisket beef, pork loin, turkey or lamb and meat-free options such a beefless wellington.
Mr Haylett added: "The feedback has been incredible so far. It's brilliant.
"Everyone is loving our food - we have been fully booked most weekends.
"I would love to do this for the rest of my career. It’s early days, but we have had an amazing start."