Lockdown saw many businesses expand their product ranges or start delivery services, but in the case of one Suffolk pub, the pandemic led to the creation of a whole new business.

Located in the village of Grundisburgh, seven miles from Ipswich, The Dog is a traditional village pub and restaurant offering real ales and a menu based on seasonal British and local produce.

When the first lockdown began in March 2020, Eilir Rogers, who runs the pub with her husband, was forced to shut The Dog. She started selling fruit, vegetables and store cupboard essentials from the pub to generate income while the bar and restaurant were closed.

“It worked so well that I expanded the product range and soon realised I had inadvertently created the beginnings of a delicatessen,” Rogers tells The Grocer.

Reopening the pub after Covid restrictions were lifted, Rogers took what she describes as “a leap of faith” and registered the deli as a limited company, reopening it down the road from the pub in the former village post office.


Her faith was well warranted, with The Grundisburgh Dog Delicatessen going from strength to strength, and this year being declared East Anglia regional winner in the Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards.

The deli has become a welcome and important addition to the village, says Rogers.

“I have created a warm and inviting environment where everyone feels welcome, especially dogs, who are also welcome,” she explains, adding that one customer recently declared “coming in here is like getting a big hug”.

The shop sells a wide range of carefully curated fine food and supports many local artisan producers. Its cakes are baked next door by B’s Kitchen; the bread comes from local baker Harvey & Co, which uses locally grown and milled flour; its coffee is responsibly sourced by Butterworth & Son and roasted locally. Many of the shop’s cheeses come from local dairies, with the most popular being Baron Bigod from Fen Farm Dairy.

The pub plays a role, with all the shop’s fresh savoury sausage rolls, scotch eggs and quiches made daily by Rogers’ husband in the pub kitchen.

The business also supplies hampers, picnic boxes and grazing platters for parties and wine tastings.


Like all food and drink retailers, the business has faced intense pressure from the rising cost of products, packaging and services, but Rogers says the shop’s loyal and supportive customer base has understood and accepted price increases.

Working alongside Rogers in the deli is 17-year-old Amber Cavanagh, and Marjie Reeve who has been with the shop since it opened on its own site.

“Marjie brings with her a wealth of experience from many years working within the food industry both nationally and locally,” says Rogers. “I am so grateful for her unrelenting positive attitude, loyalty and most importantly her brilliant sense of humour.”


Rogers adds that Amber has grown up in the local area so knows most of the deli’s customers well.

“I have been really impressed with her dedication turning up to work on time, every week without fail and even coming in to work on her 17th birthday without question,” says Rogers. “The three of us are more like a family than work colleagues.”

She says she is grateful to her team, the shop’s customers and the local community for supporting the venture, which was recognised by the expert judges of the Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards this year.

“Winning the Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Award for East Anglia was a complete surprise to us as we had only been open for a year,” says Rogers. “But it was the most amazing reward for all of the passion and hard work we have put into starting and growing the business.”


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Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards open for entry

Suppliers and consumers are invited to nominate specialist food and drink retailers for recognition in the 2023 Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards. The deadline for nominations is 6 January 2023, and businesses wanting to enter the awards themselves have until 31 January. Visit the Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards website.