Business at The Letter B in Whittlesey is “thriving”, its new landlord says. 

While pubs across the country are struggling – with many sadly closing – Adam Turbanski says that “business has been very good” at his pub – “it’s busy, it’s steady”. 

Mr Turbanski bought the Church Street premises in 2021 – after its previous landlord, Bruce Roan, sold up and retired – and re-opened it in 2022. 

Without a new landlord, the property faced being turned into housing – a fate that recently befell The Elm Tree Tavern in Peterborough.

Before Mr Turbanski bought the pub, Mr Roan submitted a planning application to turn it into three new houses.

But with the new look Letter B up and running, this was summarily rejected by Fenland District Council (FDC) at a meeting this week. 

READ MORE: Housing plan for BBQ and Brews pub rejected

Mr Turbanski puts the success of his new venture down to three factors. 

First, he’s added a food business to the pub; one half of it is now a dining area. 

This side to the pub is called BBQ and Brews (although the ‘Letter B’ name has also been retained for its local recognisability), the same name he gave the restaurant he previously ran in Hereford. 

“We have a lovely restaurant and the food is very gourmet and upmarket,” Mr Turbanski said of The Letter B. 

“We have 100% meat burgers. We have our own smokehouse. We smoke our own meat here; it takes 12 to 24 hours and we make it all from scratch.” 

BBQ season is year-round at the pub, which is “what makes us a bit different,” and the must-try dishes for meat-lovers are the brisket, ham hock and pit burger, Mr Turbanski said. 

The second factor that’s helped its success is its long-standing reputation, solidified under Mr Roan’s ownership. 

While the food business is new, “we have lovely ales on the pump, always four or five to choose from, that we inherited from The Letter B”, Mr Turbanksi said. 

The pub has indeed long been a favourite of those who love a quality pint: it was named Peterborough and Cambridgeshire’s CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pub of the year in 2012 and CAMRA cider pub of the year in 2015 and 2016.

Thirdly, and finally, owning the pub’s freehold and keeping the pub independent and family-run has helped keep costs down, Mr Turbanski said, even after the spikes in food and energy prices seen in recent years. 

“It’s nice and simple,” he said – there’s “no managers, no supervisors, not too many chefs” – and it’s not a chain, either. 

“It’s just like in the old days when you looked after your business.” 

The Letter B is one of the top five rated pubs in Peterborough on TripAdvisor with recent customers calling it “friendly and welcoming” with “excellent service”. 

It’s open daily from 12pm to 9pm.