Bar splashes out £500,000 on outdoor dining area
- Credit: The Oak Bar
The owner of a Thorpe St Andrew eatery has adapted to the pandemic by making a "significant investment" in a new outdoor seating area.
Marcus Pearcey of The Oak Bar and Terrace at the Oaklands on Yarmouth Road said he spent £500,000 on his covered outdoor area, which includes heaters, to comply with government roadmap guidelines.
But the investment will be a long-term benefit, with Mr Pearcey hoping to use the facility to stage outdoor events in the winter months such as Oktoberfest and a Christmas market.
Mr Pearcey said: "We have had the terrace for a while but now being able to offer outdoor seating with covers and heating has been really beneficial.
"We can also open our bi-fold doors up for an outdoor kitchen when it is nice weather.
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"People are really enjoying being outside and I am hoping we can build on these things during the winter months. Obviously it won't be as sunny but I feel people will like being outside with the heating now in place."
After using the first lockdown to make drastic changes, Mr Pearcey has been pleased to see the covered terrace being well-used since outdoor dining was permitted by the government.
Despite the wet weather on Saturday, the terrace was still full as diners were able to stay dry and warm whilst sat outside.
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Ian Mackie, county councillor for Thorpe St Andrew, said: "Businesses in Thorpe have had to adapt and respond to the situation, and they have all made significant changes and adaptations, some making significant investment such as the Oaklands.
"I've noticed that many residents are getting behind their local businesses that helped sustain the community during the height of the pandemic."
The Oak Bar delivered 60-70 meals within the community during the coronavirus lockdown, as well as providing three rooms free of charge for NHS staff.
Mr Pearcey also donated food and blankets to homeless people during lockdown.
His menu is made up of locally sourced ingredients with the Tomahawk Pork dish being supplied by the Youngs family, renowned for producing Norfolk rugby stars Tom and Ben.