Mark and Nick Duval, who run Fuller’s pub The Talkhouse in Stanton St John, are delighted to have picked up the accolade.
The Talkhouse was voted as the runner-up in the category of best Country /Village Pub in 2022, behind winners The King Charles in Kings Worthy, Hampshire.
The finalists were visited by a judging panel – Fuller’s chairman Michael Turner, chief executive Simon Emeny, and people and talent director Dawn Browne – who selected winners for each category and the overall winner.
Michael Turner said The Talkhouse had been extremely unfortunate on the day the judges visited as it had been forced to close, due to a burst water main which affected Oxford on October 5.
Mark Duval is the operations manager, while his father Nick looks after the accounts.
Nick said: “We are delighted to get this award for The Talkhouse.
“Last year was our first full year since the pandemic and we have been extremely busy.
“The pub is as pretty as as chocolate box and quirky inside.
“We serve lunches and evening meals and put on wakes for families from Oxford crematorium.”
Mr Duval and his son took over the pub in 2019 and have given it a boost.
Now known a gastro pub with rooms, The Talkhouse has gone from strength to strength, despite being closed due to the pandemic for 10 months through 2020 and 2021.
Heading up the front of house team, Mark has been quick to praise the unsung heroes of his kitchen and in particular Head Chef James Clarke for his culinary exploits.
Fullers chairman Michael Turner also gave recognition indicating that the Chef’s signature dish “Duck Chips” were worth a visit on their own and he envisaged a bright future for the pub.
The Duvals both started out in the hospitality trade with The Highwayman at Kidlington prior to extending their estate with The Talkhouse.
The picturesque thatched pub takes its name from the Telephone kiosk that shares its frontage. Formerly run by BBC Chef Marco Pierre White in 2005, the pub which had been significantly updated at the turn of the century was previously known as The George.
A holding company Duval Inns was formed in 2021 and it will now take over The Great Western Arms at Aynho, near Banbury next month. The GWA is part of Hook Norton Brewery and sits beside the Oxford Canal close to the now defunct Aynho for Deddington Station, formerly a part of the Great Western rail network.
This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.
Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.email@example.com
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