A Message from David & Rona

When Rona and I served our first customers at the old Read’s in the nearby village of Painter’s Forstal on the 13th July 1977 we decided that if someone came to the front door to eat with us, THEN WE WERE OPEN! We were doing virtually everything ourselves at that time so as far as we were concerned it didn’t make sense to close on any particular day. Read’s had no guest-rooms back in those days so there was no cooking breakfast for guests but this meant that we were open for 14 sessions a week, 7 lunch and 7 dinner.

Our very first table on that Wednesday 43 years ago were a group of 21 people known as The 41 Club who were associated with the Round Table. We include the menu from that day here and try not to laugh when you look at the price, bearing in mind that it included the wine.

There were many days during those early months when we didn’t have any customers at all. On our first complete week following our official opening we did only 11 diners and 7 of those were on the Saturday evening.

After about 6 months we reluctantly accepted that hardly anyone had requested to dine with us on the Sunday evening (although Sunday lunches by then were really taking off) so we made the decision that this was the only session of the week that we were officially closed.

With this philosophy in mind, can you imagine how we feel about the government ordering us to close even though we fully realise why it has to be done. The only time that the phone rings these days is to take a cancellation for our booking diary that was often full for many weeks ahead.

We just wanted to share some of our thoughts with you and are REALLY looking forward to reopening as soon as we are allowed. Unlike many restaurants we are fortunate at Read’s to have plenty of room and we are confident that you will be able to Waltz comfortably between the newly spaced tables although a Tango may need to be by arrangement with Brad. We are also toying with the idea of eliminating our bar area temporarily as this is where our customers have been in very close proximity to each other in the past. You could always have an aperitif and nibbles at your table. Please let us know what you think.

In the meantime let’s be good boys and girls for a little while longer so that we can finally annihilate this intruder.

Best Wishes

Rona, David, Brad and Frederick as well as the whole of the Read’s team.

Read’s First Menu

July 13th, 1977