The Heart Of Heathfield
by Adele Trathan
The Heathfield Tavern recently opened under the new ownership of local family run pub group Ridley Inns. Adele Trathan paid them a visit to find out more about this exciting new venture
Unless you are an ostrich and have your head in the sand, it won’t surprise anyone to hear that most public houses up and down the country haven’t had an easy time of things for many years. So, it’s always great to hear some good news regarding local pubs! Well, you heard it here, The Heathfield Tavern has been taken on by the thriving local family run business – Ridley Inns.
The Ridley family established themselves at The Cock near Ringmer, and have built an enviable reputation for quality food and drink that attracts people from all around the area.
Then nearly five years ago they took on a second pub and became proud owners of The Highlands Inn in Uckfield. This landmark pub had closed, but after substantial investment they breathed new life into the establishment. Family run and family friendly, the menu offers traditional pub food with seasonal specials menu and is renowned for consistently delivering excellent food at affordable prices. Along with Harvey’s beers, guest ales and lagers, customers can also enjoy a wide range of gins, spirits and highly drinkable fine wines.
Now they are embracing the winning formula they have built, and have expanded again by taking on another local pub that had sadly closed its doors last year. The Heathfield Tavern (formerly known as The Prince of Wales) is the only public house near the centre of the lovely market town of Heathfield and they want to bring it alive again for locals and visitors alike. Using their skills of management and giving the same attention to detail, by providing good quality food and delivering consistent service, it is sure to be a success.
When I visited on the first weekend of opening I found a warm and welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff and an inviting bar and restaurant. A central wood burning stove separates the bar and restaurant areas and the kitchen is open view to the restaurant which means you know your food is being freshly prepared and cooked – right in front of you!
As with the sister pubs, the menu offers delicious, high quality food to suit all tastes and dietary requirements, all home-made and locally sourced. Whilst I was there some very tasty looking ‘pies of the day’ were being prepared and other offerings on the menu include favourites such as ‘Sussex smokie’ and beer battered fish and chips as well as the specials menu which changes regularly to offer seasonal variety. The grill menu tempts you with a selection of steaks and burgers including a ‘Funky Fungi’ with portabello mushroom and stilton or ‘Texan’ with Monterey jack cheese, BBQ sauce and onion rings. Sunday of course, is all about the classic roasts which Ridley Inns are well known for, succulent meats with all the trimmings and seasonal vegetables and at £12.50 great value too for such quality food. Although of course, they do offer a variety of other options for all diners including vegetarian and vegan.
This winning family formula has bucked the national trend by proving success and growth is possible in the pub industry by focussing on delivering what customers want. Why not pop along and enjoy a warm welcome, great hospitality and delicious food in one of Ridley Inns?
The Heathfield Tavern
- Address: Station Road, Heathfield, TN21 8DR
- Telephone: 01435 864847