A popular landmark near Banbury devastated by fire two years ago has been completely transformed by pub company Brunning & Price to create a stunning pub restaurant.
The Wobbly Wheel near Warmington has been reborn as The Falcon and manager Peter Palfi and his wife Erika are looking forward to bringing the homely touch they have already created at its nearby sister pub in Oxford, The Greyhound.
Born in Hungary, Peter had always dreamt of moving to the UK to run his own small village pub after spending a year here as a student learning English - while employed at a four-star London hotel - before returning to work as a translator for three years.
In 2007, Peter sold his family business and moved to England with wife Erika and sons Peter, now 22 and Ben, 16.
Mr Palfi said: “It was perfect timing. The boys were both at a natural stage in their schooling to continue their education in England – the perfect place to learn English.”
By October 2011, Peter had been appointed by B&P as Assistant Manager of the Horse and Groom in Twyford, going on to become its deputy manager in February 2012; exactly one year later his dream of running his own pub came true when they offered him the managership of The Greyhound.
Since taking on the pub its popularity has increased hugely and Peter puts the secret of his success down to the fact that B&P allow their managers to stamp their own unique personality on their pubs.
“Erika and I are the perfect team”, says Peter. “While I’m busy managing the pub and restaurant, she creates a wonderful interior atmosphere, by introducing light touches to marry with the seasons.
“Along with the quality food, ales and fine wines B&P pub restaurants are renowned for, I believe the fact we are left to add our personal touch to enhance customer experience makes all the difference.”
And it’s been a real family affair with sons Peter and Ben always happy to offer a helping hand. Ben is following in his parent’s footsteps, currently studying catering and hospitality at Banbury and Bicester College, and Peter has just graduated from the University of Bath, where he studied Fine Art and is soon to begin his Masters.
So, why is Peter leaving his perfectly created dream?
He said~: “I was offered the chance to take on the challenge of creating a pub from scratch and relished the thought.
“There is a huge garden, which we are aiming to feature as a big attraction. While at The Greyhound, Erika’s green fingers meant people visited from miles around to appreciate the myriad colours displayed in the window boxes and the garden.
“We’re really looking forward to putting our heart and soul into making this a fabulous place for the people of Warmington, Banbury and surrounding villages to relax and enjoy themselves.”
The Greyhound, with Peter at the helm, was shortlisted in October from more than 350 nominees in the Oxfordshire Restaurant Award, going on to win in the Public Vote category.
The Falcon opens its doors on Thursday December, 3 at 5pm. For more information visit www.falconatwarmington.co.uk