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After much speculation, it has been confirmed that former Spirit Group chief executive Karen Jones, who was last week awarded a CBE in the Birthday Honours for her services to the hospitality industry, is to buy The Birdcage and turn it into a gastro pub.

Jones is teaming up with ex-Spirit Group colleagues Jo Cumming and Peter Myers, as well as Roger Myers, with whom she co-founded the Café Rouge restaurant chain, to set up the new pub venture christened Food & Fuel.

“The philosophy [of the company] will be quality food, great service and a wonderful atmosphere,” Ms Jones told the hospitality industry's The Publican.

“They all need a bit of refurbishment, but only the Birdcage needs what I would describe as a dramatic overhaul.”

“I am thrilled to be back in the industry and delighted to keep some of the Spirit team together. We had some great times at Spirit and the hope is we can enjoy ourselves in this small but highly exciting venture,”

The four other pubs acquired by Food & Fuel are the Lots Road Pub & Dining Room, Chelsea, The Prince Regent in Kensington, The Queens at Couch End and the Dusk in Marylebone High Street.

June 20, 2006