Northumberland pub expands role at the heart of rural community with launch of pizzeria

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A rural Northumberland pub has extended its range of community services with the launch of a takeaway pizzeria.

Phil and Karen Wilkinson, owners of The Star Inn at Harbottle, near Rothbury, opened a shop and cafe at the premises at the start of the year before the coronavirus lockdown.

Karen said: “With the pub closed we have been able to accelerate some of our plans and the pizzeria was top of the list.

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"There is nothing like this nearby and we are surrounded by locals looking for good food, something a bit different.

Phil and Karen Wilkinson of The Star Inn, Harbottle, with their new pizzeria.Phil and Karen Wilkinson of The Star Inn, Harbottle, with their new pizzeria.
Phil and Karen Wilkinson of The Star Inn, Harbottle, with their new pizzeria.

"Our aim is to provide delicious hot and cold food a few days each week to meet demand.

“Bringing this lovely pub back to life and expanding its services has been a true labour of love and we are bowled over by the support from our community.”

They worked with Pub is The Hub’s regional advisor, Nigel Williams, to create a hub of new services around the pub’s old courtyard and were able to apply for a small Community Services Fund grant of £3,000 from Pub is The Hub towards their costs.

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Nigel said: “Anything that Phil and Karen do at The Star is done with such enthusiasm and energy.

"They built the wood fired oven whilst also tackling major refurbishment work inside the pub and in their private accommodation above the pub, as well as running the shop and delivering shopping around the community. They deserve all the success they receive.”

The Wilkinsons took over the 200-year-old Coquetdale coaching inn last August and have been carefully refurbishing the historic pub while documenting their work on the pub’s website.

During the Covid-19 closedown period they stripped back walls, floors and fireplaces in the bar uncovering many pieces of the pub’s history.

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Open on Thursday to Friday from 5 to 9pm, Saturday from 12 noon to 9pm and on Sunday from 12 noon to 4pm, orders can be placed at the bar for collection in the customer waiting area.

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