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Back in 2007 Richard and Nikki Cooper quit the music industry and London and decided to move their life and children to deepest, darkest Dorset. They bought a dilapidated hotel in the centre of Bridport. After a lot of hard graft the Coopers brought the hotel back to life and in 2009 they were able to focus on the beautiful outbuilding and former stable at the back. They had a vision of creating a unique environment to enjoy the finest local produce at decent prices.

Naturally, being in Dorset meant Real Cider from small scale producers was available in abundance. Obtaining fine produce in this part of the world was no issue, what with local growers and suppliers popping up all the time, and fresh meat and fish all within a 10 mile radius (Hugh set up River Cottage nearby). Richard’s brother Andy, who also happened to be a chef, had just returned from Australia and the trio began experimenting with creating some extraordinary pizza, throwing out the Italian preconceptions and creating real British pizza made with their own sourdough base and, what some might call, controversial toppings.

The concept was born; fine food and crafted cider set within an alluring atmosphere. The only challenge left was building this beauty. The old stable was a wreck and appeared to house so much junk that it was near impossible to get through the door and take a look inside. Richard, not one to get his hands too dirty, put in a call to an old school friend, Martin, and the team began to piece the old stable back together.

That was it, The Stable came to fruition and went down a storm with townspeople and critics alike. It took a few years of fine tuning until the expansion started and now The Stable is growing across the South with the same approach to each building (still built by Martin – and Stan, another old school friend of Richard’s, has joined in!). Despite the growth, ingredients are still sourced locally to each venue. The ingredients on your Bridport Blaster will be entirely different from the ingredients on your Bristol Blaster and it’s this local approach that keeps The Stable grounded with its local community and continues to win the hearts of its customers.

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