The Bildeston Crown couple Hayley and Chris Lee take on popular Three Kings pub near Bury St Edmunds
A couple who run an acclaimed hotel and restaurant are to bring their expertise to a popular pub.
Hayley and Chris Lee, of The Bildeston Crown, are expanding after taking on the Three Kings, in Fornham All Saints.
The Greene King tenanted pub has been shut since previous landladies Wendy Braithwaite and Tracy Carter decided to relinquish the lease due to the coronavirus crisis.
With expansion plans in mind, Hayley and Chris, directors of C & H Hotels, have been looking at the Three Kings ‘for quite a while’.
“We’ve always wanted to branch out,” Hayley said.
“We’ve done quite a lot to the Bildeston Crown over the years and got it to where it can be - a really good establishment, quality food and the rooms are all lovely.
“We thought we needed another place.”
They aim to open the pub, in Hengrave Road, in about six weeks and plan to redecorate as well as refurbish the kitchen.
“We obviously want to keep it as a good village local,” Hayley said.
“It’s going to be a traditional food-led pub. We want to make sure locals come and support us on a regular basis as they lost their pub over a year ago.”
It’s a lovely huge pub in a beautiful village and it’s so close to Bury - Hayley Lee
Chef Chris, who was awarded three AA rosettes in 2019, will work between the two businesses.
Some staff from The Bildeston Crown will also serve at the Three Kings and a manager will be recruited.
In the long term they plan to refurbish the pub’s nine bedrooms.
Previously Hayley and Chris were manager and head chef of The Bildeston Crown over 10 years up to 2013.
They then joined Philip Turner to start up The Chestnut Group working at The Packhorse Inn, in Moulton.
The couple returned to The Crown in 2015 to run the business and gradually built up its reputation.
With the Three Kings they hope to attract more customers from the Bury St Edmunds area.
“Bury is just growing by the minute,” Hayley said. “It’s a lovely huge pub in a beautiful village and it’s so close to Bury.
“We’ve got a good following from Bury and Newmarket.
“It’s exciting times and we just want to get it open.”