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Independent restaurant will not reopen – with owners saying they want to ‘end journey on a high’

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The owners of an independent Lynn restaurant have revealed they have decided to “end its journey on a high” and will not be reopening.Sam O’Callaghan and Emily Maginn, the directors of Purfleet Brasserie on Purfleet Street which first opened back in summer 2022, shared the news on social media last week.Their ethos of using “fresh homemade food with amazing service” was “simply unsustainable” in the current climate, they said, adding: “Hospitality is hard, it’s long hours and it’s exhausting.”

The Purfleet Brasserie opened up for those in need on Christmas Day. Picture: Ian Burt

“The costs involved in running a restaurant are at an all-time high and customer volume is potentially going to be at an all-time low,” the post said.“Whilst we can cut certain costs, we just cannot cut enough without detriment to our high level of service and the quality of the food we serve, something we will just not allow to be sacrificed.“Although this decision is not taken lightly, we would rather end our restaurant’s journey in a good position on a high, owing nothing to suppliers, than allow our standards to drop to save little money and let its reputation run into the ground.“So, we have reached the conclusion that the time, the stress and the costs involved in keeping the restaurant running far outweigh the positives and the lifestyle forfeits that we have to make on a daily basis.”The post went on to thank the “wonderful” suppliers and customers who had shown their support.Speaking to the Lynn News, Sam said it had not been a decision taken lightly, but that it was “not the best time for the industry”.“When we really worked out what we gained from it, we realised it was not worth it – it’s such a shame,” he said.

Purfleet Brasserie owners Sam O’Callaghan and Emily Maginn

“That’s the industry at the moment – people are at home and fewer people are out to spend money.“Everything in the industry is increasing including energy bills.”Sam said that, despite this, they did not regret having opened the business though.“It was a year and a half of really fun times,” he said.“It’s bittersweet – it’s a bit of a relief but when you have put a lot of effort and money into something, you have to look forward.”Asked if he felt that there could have been more support from the government during the current cost of living crisis, Sam said: “If the government were to have funded hospitality throughout winter and the cost of living crisis and energy bills rising, where do you draw the line?“They could have handed out left, right and centre and businesses could still have gone under.“I don’t blame the government – you’ve got to look at the bigger picture.”Sam – who also runs Airbnbs and works in property development – owns the building that Purfleet Brasserie was housed in and is now hoping to lease it out to another local independent business.“That would be nice,” he said.“I am talking to a couple of people in town who are looking to go up in volume and size. It would be nice to get someone in and then open up and have a really good crack at it.”

Singer Example with King’s Lynn’s Purfleet Brasserie co-owner Emily Maginn before his Festival Too set. Picture: Purfleet Brasserie

Over the past year and a half, the eatery had enjoyed high praise – including from chart-topping musician Example who enjoyed a meal there before headlining Lynn’s Festival Too last year.In a post on his Instagram page, Example, whose real name is Elliot Gleave, said: “Thank you to the lovely people at @purfleetbrasserie King’s Lynn. Perfect hosts pre-show. Highly recommend.”After announcing the news on social media, dozens of people shared their regret that Purfleet Brasserie would be closing.“People have been absolutely lovely. We have had a lot of support on Instagram and Facebook from people saying they loved coming in. That was nice,” Sam said.“We don’t want anyone to feel that we were forced to close it or in trouble though – we don’t want anyone feeling sorry for us.”Other highlights from the past year and a half included popular quiz nights, and offering vulnerable people a free, hot meal on Christmas Day – something Sam hopes to continue in the future.“If I’ve got a tenant, I will speak to them and ask if I could borrow the kitchen for a day, or do it somewhere else – a village hall or something,” he said.“Emily gave such a warm welcome – we had quite a lot of people come in who felt safe here and they used it as a bit of a hub and that felt nice.“I think we did a bit of good.”Anyone interested in taking on the Purfleet Brasserie premises can get in touch via email to discuss leasing via sam@riversidekl.com

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