In November 2011 my wife Marzena and I (Jeremy) acquired the 16th Century freehold Public House, The Cambrian Inn. It is located in the heart of the picturesque harbour village of Solva on the Pembrokeshire Coast, near the Cathedral City of St. David's.
At the same time we established The Pembrokeshire Beer Company Ltd. with a view to creating over time the type of locally owned family business, that would not only provide us and our young family (Zosia and Konrad) with a sustainable future in this special part of the world, but also a way to invest back in the county and community that I was lucky enough to spend my youth in, and hope to return to at some point in the future.
So why The Cambrian, well partly sentimental, as way back in 1986 when I was 14, I took my first summer job, working in the kitchen of The Cambrian Inn for Pierro and Jean who owned and ran the property for many successful years. I lasted two days before being tempted across the road by Tommy and Josie, the then owners of another Solva restaurant (the 25p per hour extra offered was too much to ignore!). I spent many happy summers and holidays through my school / college years working in one or another of the restaurants or pubs in Solva, before heading further afield for a career as an international banker (contrary to popular culture, some of us are human, honestly!).
Having left her native Poland in 2002, Marzena was studying in New York and working ‘as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I met her’ (well, really it was a nice local after work bar, but the Human League reference stuck in the head somewhere along the way). Anyway we have both worked in the hospitality industry and although we know its a tough business we both thought one day we would return to it, so here we are.
So now that we own a restaurant, the most common question we get asked is, ‘How do you run a business in Pembrokeshire when you have a day job that just happens to be a few thousand miles away?’ Well in truth with a lot of trust, technology and the help of family and friends, but most importantly by working with the right people. That is where Matthew Cox, Head Chef and Manager of The Cambrian comes in. Matthew and I have known each other since attending primary school in St. David’s, where we were best friends and whilst I have been off globetrotting, he has spent much of the last 20 years honing his considerable talent in the kitchen (see more about Matt under “Chef”).
Over the last couple of years we have been talking about collaborating in some way, so when the opportunity to acquire The Cambrian Inn came along it didn’t take much for us all to decide it was the right time for us to start a new adventure.
After completing our inaugural year in 2012, we look forward to The Cambrian Inn continuing to play its small part in keeping Pembrokeshire a great place to live and visit in 2013.
Jeremy & Marzena Barton