It has been quite a year for Will Frankgate, chef patron at the Blue Bell in Glinton.
Will, who has been ruling the roost in the kitchen since 2013 when his parents took on the 18th century pub, and has been in sole charge since 2014 when they retired, has overseen a £120,000 investment in the popular village hostelry.
And he puts the smooth transition and its success down to always looking forward and keeping ahead of the game.
February saw work start on a £60,000 upgrade of the kitchen - everything from state of the art oven to walk-in fridge and even a new pass.
“Having a 15-year lease has really given us a chance to plan ahead, which is very important in this business. You can’t stand still,” said Will.
“The kitchen was manageable but with an eye on the future - and we had been toying with the idea of an extension for 18 months or so - it is really important to do the number of covers you want that you have the right equipment.”
The new kitchen was up and running in April when attention turned to the extension.
And earlier this month the stunning oak-framed garden room with bifold doors opening out onto the patio was brought into use, allowing another 30 covers in the busy pub’s restaurant.
“With the brewery involved we didn’t know whether it would be before or after Christmas,” said Will. “ But to be fair once the decision was made and work started it was all fitted and ready within four weeks, and it is a real asset to the place.
“It gives as another 30 covers but as it can be shut off it has added a function room or meeting place to what we can offer.
“We can use it all year round, and with all the glass it is nice in the winter but we will get the best of it in the summer, bringing the outside in.”
And not wanting to rest on his laurels, there are also plans for an upgrade of the huge under-utilised beer garden at the rear of the pub.
And through it all, The Blue Bell has been awarded entries into the Michelin 2017 guide and AA pub guide 2017.