A PUB and restaurant, forced to close because of the coronavirus lockdown has re-opened its doors as a community shop and takeaway – and is making free deliveries to customers.

The Black Boy in Headington, Oxford, re-opened earlier this year under new management after a four-month refurbishment.

The Old High Street pub had attracted rave reviews for its good food and acclaimed range of beers, wine list and cocktails, and was gearing up for a packed diary of weddings and social events, but, along with other pubs, closed its doors three weeks ago.

Keen to keep the pub at the heart of the community, however, owners Samantha and Simon Stonehouse, have reopened its doors and converted the bar into a store selling food and essentials – stocking items difficult to find elsewhere.

As well as helping the community, the business is also a lifeline to the companies supplying The Black Boy and the couple’s other business, Lamb Catering.

Mrs Stonehouse said: “We have turned the front of the pub into a community shop selling fresh produce from The Black Boy’s suppliers. We have dairy products, meat, vegetables and everything you need. We even have loo roll and bread flour, which people have struggled to find elsewhere.”

REVIEW: What's the food REALLY like at The Black Boy?

Being a pub, they also sell a wide range of beers, wine and soft drinks as well as vegetable, fruit and dairy boxes and now plan to stock the Oxford Mail – keeping customers in touch with local news and keeping them entertained.

Oxford Mail:

Chef Jonny Cooper

She said: “It’s great for locals, but we are also making deliveries to people who can’t get to the shops or who are self-isolating.”

And she said business was booming, with up to 40 people coming in each day and 20-30 deliveries a day to homes within an approximate 20 mile radius.

She said: “People have been enjoying the experience and it seems to be breaking up the daily grind. One lady yesterday did her big weekly shop here and spent £140.

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“We have welcomed people who hadn’t been in since the refurb. When they come in we have a joke and a laugh. We have had some lovely thank you cards and emails. And while we don’t have the buying power of the likes of Tesco, we are keeping our prices as competitive as possible and our portions are generous.”

She added: “We are being very strict on social distancing, covering products and making all deliveries in a refrigerated van. We are leaving all deliveries on doorsteps after ringing the doorbell twice and watching from a safe distance to see them being collected.”

She said deliveries were also being ordered for local people by families living elsewhere in the country. She added: “People want to make sure their parents are well looked after.”

Chef Jonny Cooper is preparing choices from an online menu for takeaways – pick-up only.

The pub’s curious name is believed to be a reference to King Charles II, nicknamed ‘Black Boy’ by his mother, Henrietta Maria of France because of his dark hair and complexion.

For delivery details, email info@lambcatering.co.uk

The Black Boy’s top 12 items

1. Beef braising steak

2. Vegetable boxes

3. Milk

4. Toilet roll

5. Eggs

6. Pasta

7. Strong bread flour

8. Porridge oats

9. Minced beef

10. Bread

11. Butter

12. Free-range whole chickens