Oakman Inns off the mark with fledgling restaurant brand

The Beech House, Solihull

Hunky Dory Pubs, owned in partnership between Enterprise Inns and Oakman Inns, has opened its first pub since its formation in May 2016. The Beech House in Solihull is the third site to open within Oakman’s fledgling Beech House brand and is the sixteenth within its wider existing stable.

The development represents a further evolution of the innovative design features and high-quality product and service for which Oakman has become recognised over the last decade.

The design has incorporated a range of materials, much of it reclaimed or sustainably sourced, and is probably the most environmentally sympathetic Oakman has yet created. The 660 sqm. site boasts a City Garden designed by Kate Gould where tarmac has been replaced with trees, outdoor terraces, and pergolas, with individual seating for small and larger groups for up to 80.

One of the terraces incorporates a double Tepee function area for 120 with its own bar service formed from a reclaimed shipping container. With a mix of solar and low-energy lighting, at night, the outdoor areas produce a sense of mystery and enchantment.

Inside, the trademark theatre-style open kitchen favoured by Oakman features a Josper charcoal oven which is elemental to the Mediterranean-style menu offered across the Oakman Collection.

Head Chef, Adam Czyz will head up a brigade of 14 including pizzaiolos who produce authentic hand-made Pizzas to order as well daily specials. Czyz won the Carlsberg Best Pub Restaurant Award two years running.

The Beech House Solihull has been designed by Oakman property director Malcolm Schooling, he said: “The design has focused on seeing just how far we could go in creating an exciting and interesting venue – and setting workable, environmental goals in line with our three-star accreditation from The SRA of which we’re tremendously proud. When you think this space will be serving up to 500 covers a day with a great range of delicious, healthy and fresh dishes, the design has to work from opening.”

The restaurant area seats 120 -140 and is open from 8:00 am every day for breakfast and will serve food until late. The Beech House benefits from its proximity to Touchwood Shopping Centre and Solihull Hospital, as well as many local businesses and offices. Even during construction, the new general manager, Dan Dawson, received enquiries for Christmas Parties.

“Local interest has been so positive in the run-up to the opening. I think it helps that both myself and our area manager, Darren McClure, are local and have close ties with the community which we want to build on and for which Oakman has such an excellent reputation.”

The first event to be supported by The Beech House is this year’s “Solihull Summer Fest” and as well as sponsoring the local rugby team they are also in discussions with a few other local charity and sports groups.

Employing a team of over sixty, the deputy and assistant managers (Kathryn Brown, Matteo Ungaro, and Kristie Paton) are all promoted from within Oakman Inns and graduates of the group’s in-house ‘Oakmanology’ training programme. The Oakmanology system develops the talents, skills and capabilities of all the company’s employees along their chosen career pathways.

Oakman Inns’ chief executive, Peter Borg-Neal, said: “We are delighted to get the first Hunky Dory site open. I am confident that The Beech House, Solihull will be a huge success as we have the right ingredients in place. We have been presented with a great building to work with and we believe we have managed to make the best of it. Certainly, we have a first-class team of people and an excellent concept for them to work with. Together these ingredients make a compelling consumer offer”.

Borg-Neal added: “As regards the future, we have identified four further sites for Hunky Dory and are working hard to identify several more.”

On behalf of Enterprise Inns CEO, Simon Townsend, said:  “The opening of our first Hunky Dory site marks a significant milestone in the development of our Managed Expert model.  We’ve worked closely with Peter to find the right venue and create the perfect retail offer to ensure the business will thrive.”

The Beech House Solihull is the 16th site to open within Oakman Inns & Restaurants wider estate. The company was founded by entrepreneur and its CEO Peter Borg-Neal in 2007 when he opened the Akeman in Tring which won an award for outstanding design and conservation work.

The ‘Oakman Collection’ comprises 15 distinctive ‘all-day, establishments across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and West Midlands which have all achieved a three-star rating from The Sustainable Restaurant Association.

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