Alex and Gill have been working in the industry for many years and since their early days where they met at a wedding hotel; where Alex was executive chef and Gill was general manager/event manager, they soon turned their hand to pubs.
Since opening its' doors on 22 June 2018, the Black River Inn has not only become a local hub and village pub; Alex even went as far as proposing to Gill on Christmas Day 2019 in front of all the pub's Christmas Day locals and friends. But it has also become a destination venue, never failing to keep up to date with trends and ideas. During the pandemic, the couple took their inability to stop and do nothing to new lengths and became the local takeaway and delivery service. Gilliveroo (aptly named) called for walking door step deliveries around the locality, whilst Alex was creating weekly, takeaway menus that offered people tastes of the world; in a time where travel was impossible.
Now established, the guys have created a beautiful, welcoming place to come and eat and/or drink in with comfortable surroundings, stunning beer garden and where all are welcome.
In a time where the world is just waking up to the need for change. The Black River Inn has already made huge steps towards lowering their impact as a business on the environment. In February 2022, Alex designed and built a greenhouse (using reclaimed windows and doors only; as per Gill's specific request) and over the growing season of 2022 Gill was growing top up vegetables both here and in the garden for the pub kitchen; including British tomatoes, lettuce, fresh herbs, chillis, rainbow chard, Cavolo Nero and beetroot. For 2023, bigger plans again for the garden and increasing the mix of flowers to increase the already huge numbers of wildlife coming to the garden but also edible produce to lessen the for miles of produce.
The Cooking hearth in the kitchen, was perhaps the most risky. Cutting the gas pipe, and turning your hand to cooking solely on fire took months of research and trial and error. Now only locally sourced ethical charcoal and kiln dried wood is used for cooking; not fossil fuels. Alex and Gill have created a zero to landfill incentive, on a Sunday after the last food service of the week, they go through the kitchen and sell off leftover, excess food stuffs on social media channels within the locality; like a short dated aisle in the supermarket. This was started with the idea of avoiding food being thrown away, means the locals can get a deal, and/or a quick fix for meals, but also means that 2 of the 3 kitchen fridges cab be switched off until Thursday when food service resumes.
Other key measures include not turning on high wattage kitchen or bar equipment unless required; essentially don't have them on all day. The use of plastic has been reduced by 85% in the business. The kitchen compost all organic waste; into a hot composter is in Gills' greenhouse, all other food waste goes to biomass and compost depots. Water butts in the garden collect water for the plants and greenhouse, and a water butt has now been installed in the cellar. This collects condensation from the cellar cooler system and in turn gets used to water plants within the pub and outside. Our biggest change for 2023 has been successfully switching out our cleaning products to ones that lie within industry regulations, but that are either in large refillable 5 little containers or zero plastic. Plus where possible we use ones that are safe for oceans and eco-systems Our toilet paper, paper napkins, paper towels are all made from recycled paper. Our blue roll for the kitchen is now brown roll; more environmentally friendly. The suppliers have been switched to 95% of them being located right here on our doorstep in Devon, or just over the border into Cornwall; low food miles, supporting local and keeping it seasonal. This also ensures Alex knows what he's buying is at it's best as he can go and see the produce for himself or talk directly to the grower, supplier before buying.
Further steps are in the pipeline for 2023. Check out our blogs for more details as and when they come to be. It may seem just small steps for a small business but if everyone took the initiative to make some changes, we would all lower the impact we're having on our world.
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Contact The Black River Inn
If you're enquiry is for a table within the next 48 hours please call us as we run on a small team, who at busy times cannot always get to emails. Thank you.
Tuesday: 5-11pm NO FOOD
Wednesday: 5-11pm NO FOOD
Thursday: 5-11pm: Food 6-9pm
Friday & Saturday: 12pm-12am: Food 12-2.30pm/6-9pm
Sunday: 12-8.30pm: Food 12.30-2.30pm