When the Crown in Woodstock reopened six years ago after an extensive refit and refurb, no one could have imagined that a few years later, the UK’s pubs and restaurants would be closed indefinitely by a worldwide pandemic.
Which means that the hospitality industry is having to adapt to survive. Whether opening for takeaways, deliveries, farm shops, food supplies or cooking for the NHS, the local transformation has been truly inspiring.
“although the deli has only been open for a few days, it’s been absolutely non stop, really busy and people seems to love it, which has been really inspiring”
Which is why The Crown opened its doors as a deli and takeaway this weekend and is already being run off its feet.
“Like everyone in our industry we were closed by the pandemic so have had to reinvent ourselves, first as a takeaway (as we had seen happen in other countries) and then as a deli,” Justine Rosser says.
“We realised that people were craving a little slice of normality, to feel looked after again and to enjoy more than just the basic essentials of life,” she says.
“And although the deli has only been open for a few days, it’s been absolutely non stop, really busy and people seems to love it, which has been really inspiring. There’s been so much love and support for The Crown locally.”
So what can we expect? “We have cooked up some delicious healthy deli style fresh foods, sourced some special foodie ingredients and created a safe but welcoming and thoughtfully designed place to shop,” she says.
“restaurants as we know them aren’t coming back anytime soon. And if we as an industry don’t find a new model, no one will survive.”
You can buy quiche, salad, sandwiches, fresh baked bread, cakes from Barefoot Bakery, wood roast chicken, beef lasagne for sharing at home, foodie ingredients, gifts and treats. Plus cocktail making kits, which go down a treat.
“So far the feed back has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope The Crown feels like a little holiday from all the stress and chaos of these difficult times,” she adds.
Julian and Justine Rosser run The Crown, The Anchor in Jericho, The House Bar in central Oxford and The Duke Of Cambridge in Little Clarendon Street. The bars are currently closed but the two pubs are open for takeaways, The Crown serving a delicious wood fired pizza.
So how do the Rossers feel about the future? “We are trying to stay focused on diversifying and adapting, but it’s an intense and scary time in lots of ways for us,” Justine says.
“But seeing people’s reactions and listening to their feedback has really been amazing. I never thought I would see people so happy to be served a draft beer (their first since lockdown!) or just walk into a warm friendly place. They can’t stop saying thank you!!
“We also have the most giving, talented and support staff. It couldn’t have happen so fast without them.
“More than that, the takeaway is about limited loses really and trying to survive. But the market is unknown as the world is changing dramatically by the day.
“We just don’t know. No one does. But I think restaurants as we know them aren’t coming back anytime soon. And if we as an industry don’t find a new model, no one will survive.”
The Crown deli is open Wed-Sun from 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-5pm and takeaway from 5pm-8pm, Sunday 12 noon – 5pm.