Jeremy’s Restaurant set to close in Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath

One of the most popular restaurants in West Sussex is set to close its doors next month after more than 20 years in the community.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 5:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 5:28 pm

Jeremy’s Restaurant, based in Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath, will serve its final dinner on Friday (October 1).

But proprietor Jeremy Ashpool said that he and his wife and business partner Vera are not leaving Borde Hill entirely.

“We’re continuing Café Elvira and were continuing to run events for the time being in the Jeremy’s space and the marquee,” he said.

Jeremy's Restaurant at Borde Hill. Picture: Steve Robards, SR2109081.

But uncertainty remains about the future of the restaurant space, said Jeremy, 71.

“We had a lease here for 25 years,” he said, adding that this will end shortly.

“That’s why we decided to close the restaurant, because a buyer hasn’t been forthcoming.”

Jeremy also explained that his ‘brilliant’ head chef Jimmy Gray and sous chef Maria Chiltern are moving on and that he did not want to recruit a new team with time running out on the lease.

Jeremy has been a Haywards Heath resident for more than 35 years and lives in the area with his wife, and his son Daniel.

Since opening in 1998 the restaurant has won the hearts of many diners who eat there regularly.

One of his best customers even joked that the local paper’s headline should be ‘Disaster for Mid Sussex’ when he found out about the closure, said Jeremy.

“A lot of people feel that,” he said.

“I’ve been turning people away in droves on the phone and by email,” he added, saying he is now completely booked until the last service, which is also sold-out.

“It’s very sad some people can’t come and wish us the last farewell,” he said, adding that the restaurant’s final day will mainly cater to friends and long-term customers.

But Jeremy said this event will have ‘a real party feel’ because of the ‘wonderful relationship’ he has built up with the community over two decades.

There are clients that have followed the restaurant from its beginnings at Borde Hill and from even further back, said Jeremy.

“We’ve been in Mid Sussex for 40 years,” he said.

“The first Jeremy’s was at the King’s Head, Cuckfield, in the mid ’80s, then we moved to Crabtree at Lower Beeding.”

Before that, he said, Jeremy and Vera were running bars in Spain, before returning to England to manage The Farmers in Scaynes Hill in the late 1970s.

Jeremy said Spain taught them the values of good service in hospitality, as well as a love of Mediterranean food.

He added that they have now reached a stage where retirement looks appealing but are not planning to relax just yet.

“Tongue in cheek, I said in my email to my customers that I’m dreaming of grilling sardines on a beach somewhere,” said Jeremy.

“That’s way off.”

Jeremy made an announcement about closing the restaurant at www.jeremysrestaurant.co.uk.

He said the remaining, hard-working team, which includes his son Daniel, will have a fortnight’s break and then reopen Café Elvira from Wednesday (October 20) from 9am to 5pm, Wednesdays to Sundays.

It will also be open two evenings per week on Fridays and Saturdays for a brasserie-style supper.

He said the restaurant space could be used for pop-up suppers, nutritional courses, cookery classes and other events.

“It’s a wonderful environment we have here,” said Jeremy.

“A beautiful environment, and the terrace on fine days is quite magnificent.”