Former Bel and the Dragon manager to open restaurant in 14th century pub

27 March 2013 by
Former Bel and the Dragon manager to open restaurant in 14th century pub

A former general manager at the Bel and The Dragon restaurant chain is set to re-open the George Inn Wraysbury, near Windsor, after a £350,000 refurbishment.

The 14th Century Grade II listed coaching inn, which had looked set to close permanently, has been taken over by restaurateur Ben Smith, a former group manager and partner of the Bel and The Dragon.

Smith, 37, spent 12 years at the chain and this is his first solo project.

The restoration project took seven weeks and a team of 15 to return the inn to its former glory. The team have uncovered original fireplaces, oak beams and 300-year-old wattle and daub walls.

The restaurant, set to re-open tomorrow, will now have 60 covers and will still include a bar for locals at the front of the building dating back to 14th century, serving real ales from Windsor and Eton Brewery as well as national brands.

Smith said: "I've been working in the pub and restaurant industry for the past 20 years and to finally have my name above the door is a dream come true. To be able to take this old building and restore it to its former glory has certainly been challenging but overall an absolute joy. The George has an incredible history and I'm proud to be able to continue to keep it alive."

A former gym at the rear of the building where boxing legend Henry Cooper is thought to have once trained, has been transformed into a function space for 70, which pays homage to its sporting history, displaying boxing memorabilia on its walls. The newly named Boxers Bar will have its own kitchen and bathroom facilities and opens directly onto the olive garden.

Phase two of the rebuilding work will see the adjoining accommodation block transformed into luxury B&B accommodation.

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