Johnny James and Matthew Dawson to take over The Boat House in Tewkesbury
BUSINESS partners Johnny James and Matthew Dawson want to revive the fortunes of a notoriously troubled Tewkesbury venue.
The Boat House has had a chequered history for many years, with many people trying to make a success of running it as either a pub or a restaurant.
It is closed at the moment, having barely reopened at all after being affected by flooding earlier this winter.
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But Johnny has stepped in to take over the premises, with his business colleague Matthew.
The pair aims to spend an initial sum of between £30,000 and £40,000 on sprucing up the Mythe Road venue.
Then they hope to reopen it late in March as a quality restaurant, serving fresh locally-sourced food at relatively affordable prices. Johnny and Matthew, both 31, will leave their jobs at the Belvedere Arms in Ascot, Berkshire, in order to start their new business venture.
Johnny said: “We’ve got 30 years’ experience in the trade between us. I want people to think ‘these guys really care’.
“We’ve been in similar jobs, but it’s a massive thing for us to do. I’m moving away from my girlfriend, who lives in Ascot, but we’re both so passionate about this and we thought we had to do it.”
He said the duo had taken on a five-year lease from the owners of the building, the Moholkar brothers.
Although not from the area, Johnny said he was aware of some of the riverside venue’s troubled past.
That included it being shut down by the police in 2006 due to drugs and weapons being found there when it was the King John’s Tavern.
Johnny added: “It seems quite sad as it’s such a stunning location but I reckon we will make it work.”
Originally from Bristol, he said coming to Tewkesbury felt a bit like coming back home to the South West.
He said he aimed to create a restaurant where people could enjoy a quality meal without it leaving a large hole in their wallet.