Chef-restaurateur Mark Hix has taken on the lease of the Fox Inn in Corscombe, Dorset, and plans to reopen the 17th-century, Grade II-listed pub on 10 December.
The pub was bought by locals and friends of Hix Eva and the late Ray Harvey in 2012 to save it from being turned into housing. Eva offered Hix the lease.
The Fox Room and Bill's Garden Room, named after Hix's late grandfather, will seat 35 covers and serve local, seasonal food. Drinks and bar snacks will include Forde Abbey pheasant club sandwich and Poole cockles with aged vinegar.
The restaurant menu will focus on meat and game sourced from the surrounding area, including rabbit brawn with piccalilli, gamekeeper's hotpot with pickled red cabbage, and a traditional roast every Sunday. The menu will also feature locally caught fish and smoked salmon ‘Hix cure', which will be cured and smoked on the premises. The drinks list will put local beers, wines and spirits centre stage.
After a small refurbishment next spring, the Fox will also offer overnight stays with two double rooms designed by Hix.
Hix said: "With all the challenges that we are facing now, it's great to be able to focus on an exciting new project. It's important to me that I keep the Fox as a traditional local pub with great food and drink. Since lockdown in spring the pub has only been open three days a week, so I am looking forward to opening six days a week for the locals and visitors to the area to enjoy once more."
Between 2008 and 2020 Hix operated restaurants including Hix Oyster & Chop House, Hixter, Tramshed, Mark's Bar and Hix Soho in London and Hix Oyster & Fish House in his native Dorset. The restaurants went into administration in April due to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Hix launched an oyster and fish truck in Morcombelake in June selling wet fish and seafood from Lyme Bay Reserve fishermen, and became director of food and drink at 1 Lombard Street in the City of London in July, the same month he relaunched the former Hix Oyster & Fish House as the Oyster & Fish House.