The Pheasant at Keyston rises

THE Pheasant at Keyston has become a phoenix, rising from the ashes after its previous owners were forced into liquidation.

New owner John Hoskins, who runs The Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon, reopened the popular pub restaurant on Friday, January 20 – little more than a fortnight after its previous owners left.

Mr Hoskins told The Hunts Post: “I am there all the time – there’s a lot to do. We have effectively redecorated the whole place in two weeks.”

The Old Bridge is owned by Mr Hoskins’ company, Huntsbridge, which has had to set up new accounts with The Pheasants’ suppliers – some of whom have been left with bad debts following the sudden departure of Jay and Taffeta Scrimshaw earlier this month. The couple had been running the pub for four years and announced on their Facebook page on January 4 that they were leaving.

Mr Hoskins explained that Huntsbridge was not liable for the Scrimshaws’ debts but hoped to rebuild good working relationships with local suppliers.

The takeover of The Pheasant marks a return to the Hoskins’ family roots – as Mr Hoskins’ father set up his first business at the pub nearly 50 years ago.

He said: “My father started his business at The Pheasant in 1964. It was run by the Hoskins family from 1964 until 2007. Then we sold it to the Srimshaws. We built up quite a lot of goodwill and I really hope and believe that goodwill is still there. The people who are going to run it are Simon Cadge and his wife Gerda. Simon was head chef here for two years and before that ran the Crown at Broughton.”

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Mr Hoskins continued: “It is really, really hard to run a successful pub restaurant in this current economic climate but also, generally, I think that there are still too many pubs in the UK.

“You have to have business expertise, you have to know how to run a business. We have been in this business for many, many years so we know how to manage it. You have to run your business like you run your household budget – you have to make sure your outgoings are less than your income. It’s about running your business carefully, almost conservatively.”

He added: “There are no secrets about running a great pub restaurant. It’s simply about having good food, friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere. If you can get those three things, you will do well.”

He described The Pheasant as “user friendly” and added that is was “not too expensive either”.

The pub has been given a sympathetic revamp, maintaining its roots as a traditional country pub.

Mr Hoskins said: “We have tried to make sure that it is more traditional, like it has always been there. It’s not striving to be something new and different; it’s like a long-lost friend.”