A LANDLORD is determined to revive the fortunes of a Darlington pub despite knowing that the main road leading to it will be closed for a year.

Stephen Grabham has recently taken over The Spotted Dog in High Coniscliffe only a matter of weeks before the A67 it lies on is due to close for a year because of the landslip repairs.

Despite this hurdle Mr Grabham is determined to make the business a success and has drafted in gastro pub entrepreneur Anthony Tillbrook of the Devonport Hotel and his head chef Paul Ockleford to help introduce a new menu.

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Mr Grabham said: “All of the choices on the menu are cooked completely fresh using only locally sourced produce.

“Customers can come along and enjoy classic dishes but with the added choice of our daily specials board which includes a full vegetarian choice too.”

The pub will serve classics such as Cumberland sausages and mash, Black Sheep Ale, steak and mushroom pie, fish bake and fillet steak to name a few.

To test the food with the locals Mr Grabham personally invited residents to have a drink with him and try out his food and he was delighted that more than 100 people went along.

The encouraging response has given him confidence in the business in spite of the road closing.

He said: “I have now seen the potential in this place and I really do believe if people know they are guaranteed good food and service when they visit here, then they will still come no matter what barrier is in their way.

“In fact customers may have an easier journey to get here; once they pass the road closure barrier at Elm Ridge roundabout which gives access to come up here, then their drive here should be a quiet and pleasant one as there will be less traffic!”

Darlington Borough Council officers are due to meet next week to decide exactly when the road will close – early May expected – and to finalise the diversion route after listening to residents’ feedback.