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A South Hams pub with an indoor barbecue all year round

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A South Hams pub with an indoor barbecue all year round

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We spent the morning earlier this week getting to know Rachael Heath - the wife and business partner of Scott Heath. Together with Scott’s mum (also called Rachel!) they run both The Cricket Inn at Beesands and the Church House Inn at Stokenham. The Cricket Inn has long been known for its sumptuous seafood dishes and amazing views. We decided to find out a little about the changes they’ve made to the Church House Inn since they took over the management in 2018…

How’s things been since taking over the management of the Church House Inn?

My husband Scott’s parents took on the lease of The Church House Inn in 2018 but when Scott’s father,Nigel sadly passed away last March, Scott and I have taken on the running of both the Church House Inn and The Cricket Inn. Obviously we’ve had Covid 19 and a national lockdown to deal with in our first full trading year which was a little unexpected to say the least. We rallied round and did takeaway deliveries towards the end of lockdown but we were delighted when we were able to welcome back our customers and enjoy a summer back behind the bar.

What makes the Church House Inn stand out from the other Pubs in the area?

Our unique selling point has to be The Josper.  It’s basically an indoor barbecue. All of our steaks, burgers and fresh fish are cooked on the Josper. It means our food has a lovely smoky taste. Our burgers and steaks can be cooked to our guests precise requirements, keeping them tasty and juicy. At first our chefs find using the Josper a bit difficult but once a chef has tried a Josper they don’t want to go back. Our customers often comment on how much of a difference the Josper has made to their meal and how much they love it.

Tell us a little about the team

There's Scott and I and his mum Rachel. We've taken on a new manager as of last week. Her name is Natalie Warner. She previously worked as the spa manager at Thurlestone Hotel. She’s very professional and has great people skills. She manages the team really well. Her husband Adam has been the manager at The Cricket for a while now so it’s great to expand the family vibe of the pubs.

We’re very lucky to have the very talented Iian Dawson as our Head Chef. He’s from Canada originally and likes to bring a Canadian twist to his dishes. He’s spent time in Michelin starred kitchens and is a skilled and experienced chef. He loves to smoke and brine different cuts and excels at a Sunday roast with an enormous joint of meat. We always have three options of meat and a vegetarian option for the Sunday roast.

What offers do you have on currently?

Unfortunately we are not able to do our usual Quiz, Open Mic or Jazz nights at the moment. They’re incredibly popular but due to the government restrictions it would be too difficult for the team and customers to socially distance. However, we have a Curry Night on Friday nights. You get a choice of three authentic curries; meat, fish and vegetarian. They’re served with rice, mango chutney, onion bhajis and poppadoms and we also do a Rib night on a Thursday night, the ribs are served with skinny fries and house slaw. It’s advisable to pre-book with all of these. The government restrictions mean that you can book tables of up to six people, you can have parties of any size but you’ll be seated on separate tables and will have to be socially distanced. These offers are for term time only.

What Covid19 safety measures have you put in place?

We’ve done everything we can to make everyone’s visit as safe as possible. The staff all wear our very stylish Church House Inn face masks (which are also available to purchase), our tables are all two meters apart to allow that extra space, the restrooms are socially distanced as two stalls are closed off and two are open and we have hand sanitisation areas throughout. It’s so important that people feel as safe and confident as possible when eating in our pubs.

To book a Table at the Church House Inn visit their listing on southhams.com for their full contact details.

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