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The Lamb Inn at Winkton taken over by new landlord Jon Dalman

A NEW landlord has taken over Winkton pub The Lamb Inn with plans to “get back to basics” with traditional pub grub and next-level customer service.

Jon Dalman opened the venue, which is owned by pub chain Stonegate, last weekend for drinks and a complimentary hog roast.

“We’re already getting bookings for tables, which is great,” said Jon, who lives above the pub with partner Lyn.

Customers enjoyed a complimentary hog roast on the opening night
Customers enjoyed a complimentary hog roast on the opening night

“We’ll still have a bar and a restaurant area, and we’ll be operated as a traditional country pub that is family and dog-friendly.

“We’ve got some new decking for the outside area, and as soon as the weather gets warmer we’ll be putting out tables and installing some festoon lighting so people can sit out there.

“We’re also hoping to have a play area built – just a simple arrangement to begin with, and we’ll improve on that.

The pub opened its doors last weekend
The pub opened its doors last weekend

“Our food is very much traditional pub food – nothing fancy but freshly cooked using local produce.

“We want it to be affordable, but still be good quality.”

Jon has worked in the holiday park industry, running the food and beverage departments, for much of his working life, but it has been a long-held dream of his to run his own pub.

The Lamb Inn at Sopley
The Lamb Inn at Sopley

As a youngster he was employed as a butcher’s boy on a Saturday, and was a glass collector at Holburne Naish before going on to work as bar manager at Shorefield in Milford and The Cliff House in Barton.

“My focus here will be customer service,” said Jon, who was born and raised in New Milton. “And I don’t think it’s always an easy thing to get right.

“My partner, Lyn, says ‘People buy people’, and I think that’s so true. A great atmosphere cannot be created with nice decor.

Opening night at The Lamb Inn in Winkton
Opening night at The Lamb Inn in Winkton

“I want people to walk through that door and feel welcome – this place, for me, will be about getting to know people, knowing their names.”

Jon continued: “I’m really up for the challenge – the locals have told me this place has a bit of a chequered past but we’re going to give it a really good go.

“It will be great to have full ownership.

“I want to take it right back to basics – we want this to be a community space and we are as passionate about the pub side of the business as we are the food side.

“So we’ll be buying out of tie for wines and spirits. We want to offer an affordable experience for people.

“Everything is getting more and more expensive and I want to make this place as reasonably priced as I can.”

Jon said one of the appeals of The Lamb Inn was the “character of the place”.

“My uncle is looking into the history of the building and so far he’s gone back to 1733,” he said. “I’m looking forward to finding out more about the site.”

Head chef Marc Miller worked in the pub as a pot washer in his his younger days, and went on to forge a career for himself in catering.

Jon has also worked as a chef during his time at holiday parks locally and in Devon, and plans on joining Marc in the kitchen and working collaboratively on the menus.

As reported previously in the A&T, The Lamb Inn was taken over by well-known chef Colin Nash in April last year.

But he was given six weeks to leave the site just a few months later when the brewery sold the lease.

Colin, who ran the kitchen at The Three Tuns pub in Bransgore for 16 years, launched the Colin Nash Restaurant at The Retreat in Hinton in August 2023.

To find out more, visit thelambwinkton.co.uk or follow The Lamb Inn Winkton on Facebook for regular updates.

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