Court House Hotel bought by Pig and Tinder Box owners

COURT IN SESSION: Fraser Haughton and Blake Etheridge - from The Pig and Tinder Box - will take the reins of The Court House Hotel. Photo: Gareth Gardner 021216GGF01

COURT IN SESSION: Fraser Haughton and Blake Etheridge - from The Pig and Tinder Box - will take the reins of The Court House Hotel. Photo: Gareth Gardner 021216GGF01

The jury will be out this coming Tuesday when The Court House Hotel opens it doors under new ownership.

The ball is now in the court of The Pig and Tinder Box owners Chris Cornforth and Fraser Haughton – in conjunction with venue manager Blake Etheridge – who recently purchased the Peel St hotel.

The new owners have assured regulars there’s no major changes coming straight off the bat.

“We’ll keep it relatively as is at the moment and really focus on the service and getting people back down there and creating a local for everyone,” Mr Etheridge said.

“We want to look after the locals, get to know them and let them know The Court House is still theirs.”

He said there would be some “little cosmetic changes”, but the owners have flagged “a decent overhaul to the accommodation”.

The pub’s menu will be revamped too under the guidance of Harvest Hospitality executive chef, Kurt O’Sullivan.

“At the moment, we’re just going to keep it really simple and really traditional, but we’ll focus on getting great, fresh and good quality produce in there,” Mr Etheridge said.

“We’ll just do a simple pub menu, but do it right.”

At just 22-years-old, it has been a rapid rise through the business ranks for Court House part-owner Mr Etheridge.

While he admitted the prospect of owning a bar was slightly daunting, the young-businessman was confident the team would “be able to get it humming”.

Mr Etheridge has worked with Mr Cornforth and Mr Haughton as the venue manager of The Pig and Tinder Box for over 18 months, which he said was a constant learning experience.

“I had no idea it would turn into such a great opportunity,” he said.

“I’ve learnt so much off them both because they are so much more experienced and they have great ideas.”

For Mr Etheridge, who dropped out of a university business degree, he said “it’s not the end of the world if you don’t go to uni” for young people looking to forge a career.

The young-businessman said there was confidence in the Tamworth hospitality industry with a number of new restaurants opening up and fresh ideas coming into some more established venues.

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