Owners Jeremy and Vera Ashpool have been looking to retire for the last few years and were hoping that the Borde Hill Gardens-based bistro and fine dining restaurant could be passed on to another operator.
“We were close to getting someone else in but we never quite got it over the line, which is a shame,” says Jeremy. “We could have continued but our very talented head chef Jimmy Grey and his partner Maria are moving on and we didn’t fancy recruiting a new head chef and team, especially given the industry’s current staffing challenges.”
The pair’s more casual adjoining venture Café Elvira – in which Vera still cooks every day - will continue to trade.
Though Jeremy’s final service will take place on 1 October, the pair will retain the restaurant’s 25-year-lease until the end of next summer.
The plan is to use the space for a variety of different uses including pop-ups and cookery classes with help from their son Daniel who works front of house at Jeremy’s.
“We’ll likely also run some Jeremy’s nights at Café Elvira,” adds Jeremy. “To have to close in this way has come as a bit of a shock for Vera and I but it’s been a good run.”
“The long uncertainty regarding our future has been debilitating for all of us and I am amazed and grateful to our loyal staff who continued to deliver first-class service to our customers since our return from lockdown.”
Both self-taught chefs, the Ashpools have run hospitality businesses in the Haywards Heath area since the mid-1980s and are notable for the creation of one of the first gastropubs. Jeremy’s is one of the area’s best-known restaurants and has had a listing in The Good Food Guide since it first launched at a different site in 1985.
“Our sincerest thanks to all our friends and customers – some still remember our first fledgling bistro, Elvira’s, in Cuckfield, followed by the first Jeremy’s at the King’s Head and then Jeremy’s at the Crabtree in Lower Beeding,” says Jeremy.
“The journey has been rich and rewarding but the time has now come to start dreaming about grilling sardines on an open fire at sunset on a sandy far away shore.”