MICHELIN-starred chef Tom Sellers is to reopen the historic Lickfold Inn near Lodsworth at the end of November.
And the news has been greeted with delight by campaigners who fought for three years to save the historic pub.
It became virtually derelict after being closed by the owner, celebrity broadcaster Chris Evans who bought the pub in 2007.
He closed it in 2010 saying the pub was no longer viable and it was boarded up and allowed to fall into disrepair.
Villagers fearing it would become a private house, launched their ‘Save The Lickfold’ campaign.
They were rewarded in May this year when they heard it had been bought by new owners and would remain a public house.
Campaigner Maria Dimond said: “The amount of effort Tom Sellers and his team have gone too over these last six months to restore the Lickfold has been amazing.
“Myself and all the ‘ Save the Lickfold ‘ supporters are very excited about having Tom and his team at the pub and we are all looking forward to raising our glasses and wishing the new owners every success.”
She added: “It will be wonderful for the village to have the pub open again after all this time.”
Tom is the chef and patron of Restaurant Story in London, which opened in 2013 and immediately earned a Michelin star.
Referring to his new enterprise as a modern, independent pub with traditional values, Tom said: “I grew up in pubs, and have fond memories of the happy atmosphere of a favourite local. I want to bring back The Lickfold with big impact – introducing some of my own cooking style but still respecting the legacy of a real, proper pub.”
Head Chef at The Lickfold Inn will be Graham Squire, who has previously worked in London at
both Trinity and Bistro Union with Adam Byatt for five years and before that was at Claridge’s for seven years.
Left near derelict, the Lickfold is currently undergoing major restoration work under the direction of Tom and a private investor who lives close to the pub and who has acquired the freehold of the property.
The ground floor, said Tom, would be a ‘proper pub’ open throughout the day serving craft and local beer, a range of modern and traditional cocktails, and snacks, including Scotch eggs, pork pies and charcuterie.
The upstairs dining room, seating up to 36, would be open for lunch and dinner from Monday through to Saturday, with lunch only on Sunday offering a modern British menu, incorporating ingredients from the bounty of local specialist suppliers.
The Lickfold has been a pub for more than a century, and the plot on which it sits is mentioned in historical literature dating from 1314.