RH Amar – French’s & Frank’s

The Butchers Arms

Nestled in the picturesque Yorkshire village of Hepworth, The Butchers Arms is a gastro pub with little passing trade, but don’t resign it to the backwater just yet!

The thriving pub is not just somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat; it is a destination and an award-winning one at that. Having won Best Use of Regional Produce on the Menu at the Deliciouslyorkshire Awards and many other accolades, the business is heralded by many as one of the best gastro pubs in the UK.

The brainchild of Tim Bilton, the pub was a failing establishment before it was transformed into a bustling hub for locals  and food seekers alike. With all ingredients sourced from within a 75-mile radius including a radish and a lettuce or two from next door’s garden, it’s a pub that’s true to its roots. And like pubs of old, it’s not short of a character or two and has its very own cottage industry making chutneys and relishes to sell on the bar.

Owner, head chef and Great British Menu contestant Tim Bilton is certainly the driving force behind the pub’s revival. In search of a place to call his own, Tim stumbled upon the Butchers Arms one cold wet February day. Neglected and closed for two summers, the place was in need of more than just a fresh coat of paint.

The pub is now a very different place, with a homely feel, mismatched tables and chairs, and a roaring fire. And as you can see from Tim’s top tips opposite, he doesn’t believe in letting standards slip. He hasn’t stood still either, with local shops’ shelves adorned with his chutneys and a new book, ‘Bilton Basics’, in stores soon. But none of this success has distracted from his ambition to produce great food, which is locally sourced, cooked by local chefs and served by local waiting on staff. We interviewed Tim and asked him what advice he would give to someone setting out to create a great gastro pub.

Tim’s Top Tips

  1. Firstly, I would tell them that it doesn’t matter where you set up your pub. We have very little passing trade here in Hepworth but are a destination that people are prepared to drive to.
  2. Have a quality offer and stick to what you believe in. Cream always rises to the top.
  3. We aren’t the cheapest gastro pub but we strive to be the best. We have a quality food offering and pay top dollar for products.
  4. We have a relatively small menu, but every dish is one to be proud of. We have seven starters and seven mains and change the menu every season, so that people don’t get bored.
  5. Let the ingredients do the talking. We use local companies for our produce, including Total Foodservice, which provides top of the range ingredients that really speak for themselves.
  6. Keep on top of the interior standards. Customers are fickle and will soon find somewhere else to go if standards slip.
  7. Everything stems from the top. There is a time to have a laugh and a time to knuckle down. Make sure that everyone in the team is treated the same so that when someone falls down and doesn’t do the job, you can help them get back on their feet.
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