Tag: Food

I Am Beeston: Johnny Pusztai -Butcher

Few people can handle a sausage as well as Johnny Pusztai: the larger than life butcher extraordinaire talks to The Beestonian

I have been trying to get Nottingham’s famous butcher to do ‘I Am Beeston’ for
practically two years now, but with running several businesses, it’s been almost
impossible to pin him down for a chat. But finally we managed to get together, at
L’Olvia’s, which is turning out to be one of the best and most popular restaurants
in Beeston.

“I was born in Worksop, North Notts. My father Dezso came from Hungary and
immigrated to Nottingham in 1956, where he worked as an engineering welder.
My Mum Pamela was a local girl, and sold tickets at the ABC Cinema. From
Worksop, we moved to Mansfield, then to Sherwood, when I was seven”.
“We lived across the road from the JT Beedham butchers, and my dad used to
take me to see what was for sale. I was fascinated with all the different sorts of
meats, the cuts and the terminology. I got on really well with the owners, George
Beedham and Bill Robinson, so they set me on as a delivery boy when I was 12.
Then when I turned 16, I got an apprenticeship with them. I really got stuck into
the thick of it and learned all I could. I took over the business in 1991, but I
worked in a slaughterhouse to earn enough to buy it. I worked on the boning
line. It was the most boring job, but the best paid. I kept the Beedham name out
of respect for George. He was probably the best butcher that ever lived”.

Johnny first became well known to the general public when he appeared on the
Great British Menu TV series with local Michelin starred chef Sat Bains in the
second series, which aired in April 2007. Sat won the Midlands & East of England
heat with his starter, which featured ham from Beedham’s. It received three ‘10s’
from the judges. Since then Johnny has become Sat Bain’s preferred butcher.
Johnny also supplies a few restaurants in the city centre and the very place
where we are sitting chatting. “I’ve known Marco since he opened. We’ve
become very good friends. There used to five or six butchers in Beeston. Now
there’s only two. The problem with supermarket meat is that they are not
bothered about quality. It’s more to do with profit. I like Beeston. It’s a nice town
with friendly people. I just love Nottinghamshire. It’s a wonderful county to live
in” The secret to Johnny’s success is of course the meat itself. “I have a farm up at
Wellow near Rufford, where we rear pigs and lambs. I also get meat from
Brackenhurst College near Southwell. They breed red heifers, which is the best

Further appearances followed, including BBC2’s Market Kitchen with Gary
Rhodes in November 2008. Then invitations to present cooking demonstrations
at food festivals around the country stated to come in. A number of awards have
also come Johnny’s way, such as the Guild of Fine Food for his sausages and
bacon, and the Observer Food Awards in 2011. Johnny is very modest about his
achievements. “I still work 16 hours a day. My job is never boring. I don’t drink, but love a good coffee and some nice food. I’ve seen Zulu 38 times. It’s my
favourite film. My daughter Lara and I have just done the catering in the VIP Tent
for Splendour at Wollaton Park. It was a very long day for both of us. But she is
off to university to study Business Management and Marketing. So when she gets
her degree, she’ll be able to promote me properly, as it’s something that I’m not
that good at”.
One part of Johnny’s businesses that hasn’t done as well as expected is ‘The
Snobby Butcher Bistro’, which opened in May this year, after a year and a half of
construction work on the adjoining Sherwood shop. “The restaurant has a
future, I just have to reconfigure the idea. It just wasn’t working for me”.

“I still work 16 hours a day. My job is never boring. I don’t drink, but love a good coffee and some nice food. I’ve seen Zulu 38 times.

But there are two areas that have proved to be very popular; the food and drink
shows and the experience days. “I have appeared at food festivals all over the
country. There’s even one now in Worksop, where I grew up”. Beeston actually
held one a few years ago, which Johnny attended. But it wasn’t a great success.
Possibly poor planning and publicity were to blame. Certainly the very wet
weather on that particular Saturday didn’t help. The festival was split between
the Square and Broadgate Park, and there were problems at the park, due to very
muddy conditions. So it has sadly never been repeated.

“The Experience Days have really taken off. People will spend the day with me at
the shop and get involved in all aspects of butchery. We teach them how to bone
a chicken or a piece of meat, make sausages, create flavours and cooking skills, so
they can make the same dish at home”.

One aspect of Johnny’s life that due to modesty didn’t want to mention was that
he used to be a professional ice hockey player for the Nottingham Panthers. But
some research showed that he played centre during their 1980-81 year. Despite
his busy schedule, Johnny still finds time to coach the University of Nottingham
team. “My father had a saying: we are born to be workers, so lets be the best that
we can.” Well Johnny, I don’t think anyone could argue with that. Christopher Frost, Community Editor.

The Berliner brings Oktoberfest to Beeston

The Berliner is gearing up to bring a slice of Bavaria to our doorstep. Aaron Simmonds donned his liedwehosen and sent to find out more…


The German-inspired bar and restaurant will be bringing a slice of Munich to Beeston later this month in what may be the town’s first Oktoberfest celebration. Patrons will drink from traditional steins, served by staff in full lederhosen, and the garden will be occupied by a beer-truck. Not a beer-car or beer-van, but a truck! The truck and bar will be stocked with authentic Deutsches and Bavarian biers, such as ABK Hell and other cult favourites, some from breweries over 700 years old – though, I imagine the beer is slightly fresher.

Other frivolities will include live music from bands, including the self-proclaimed funkatronic luchadors, Revenge of Calculon, and Spanish guitarist and singer, Kay Corominas. Bratwurst and beer deals will be instated to ensure pilgrims are well fed and well drunk. There was also talk of a sausage eating contest and a stein carrying challenge…could a Beestonian beat the previous record of 29 steins held at once? We’ll have to wait and see.

Artist, Louis Johnston, is involved to furnish the bar for the event. He has made tables and a two-tiered bench by upcycling old wooden pallets. He has also added vibrant colour to the bar’s interior with street art inspired by Berlin wall graffiti.

When we asked Berliner co-owner, James, what he expected from the event, he simply said, ‘Chaos. It’ll be great.’ Und mein Gott, I hope it is!

Celebrations will take place from Friday September 29 – Sunday October 1, and entry is free.


Not just coffee shops

Just over a year ago this fine magazine published a list of all the shops, pubs, restaurants etc in Beeston. This was an attempt to counter the local doom-mongers and naysayers running down Beeston on social media, in the pub, at the bus stop, or waiting outside the GU clinic.

Some amongst us feel the need to spread misery and negativity, with remarks such as the everyday whine ‘why would anyone want to come to Beeston?’ to the classic mantra ‘there’s nothing here but charity shops and coffee shops’.

The fact is that for a town of its size, Beeston does really well in terms of the number and variety of shops, pubs, restaurants and other attractions. Compared to other similar-sized towns on the doorsteps of major cities, we have a wealth of independent retailers to complement the usual high street chains. There follows a list of places in which to spend your hard-earned, be it on food, drink, clothes, furniture, musical instruments, jewellery, beauty treatments, pet food, wool, bicycles, fresh flowers, screwdrivers, candles, mobile phones etc.

A line had to be drawn somewhere, so whilst the businesses on Queen’s Road are listed, I haven’t included any of the great ones at the Chilwell Creative Corner. Also not listed are a lot of service providers like doctors, dentists, architects, estate agents, solicitors, podiatrists, opticians, banks, building societies, betting shops, pharmacies, funeral parlours, launderettes etc. Whilst there are a lot of great convenience stores and off licences to go round, they aren’t included either.

Since last year a few places have closed, but they almost all were replaced by something else fairly quickly. An interesting point to note is that throughout the UK pubs are closing for good at an alarming rate. In Beeston none have closed, in fact they are thriving. The Commercial has been refurbished and now does excellent curries, the Crown has had a makeover, two micropubs (Pottle of Blues and Totally Tapped) have opened their doors, and a very welcome addition is cocktail bar The Berliner.

If there’s any on here you’ve never heard of before, pay them a visit. Broadgate and the High Road in particular have some hidden gems which don’t benefit from as much passing trade.

The Victoria
The Greyhound
The Malt Shovel
The Commercial
The Queens
The Cricketers
The White Lion
The Crown
The Hop Pole
The Last Post
The Chequers
The Bar
Victory Club
Pottle of Blues
Totally Tapped
Mecca Bingo
Admiral Casino Slots Experience

Out Of This World
Fresh Asia
Home Made Bakery
Pick n Mix
Upper Crust Bakery
Meat 4U
Barnsdales Butchers
Jerry and Phil’s Healthy Bakery

House and home/furniture
Blacklock Carpets
Kings Carpets
Fireplace and Stove Shop
Linen Box
Cameron House
Bargain Carpets
Eddy’s Bargain Beds and Furniture
Furniture Discount Store
Classique Interiors
Heidi’s Home Furnishings
Beeston Beds
Lifestyle Kitchens and Bathrooms
Auntie Gwen’s Attic
The Fabric Place/Curtain & Fabrics
Hicklings DIY
Memory Lane
Handybloke (Shed)

Snuggles and Kisses
New Look
Bon Marche
Little Shoe Company

The Frustrated Chef
Local Not Global
Flying Goose Cafe
Milano Pizza
Gills Fish and Chips
Tastie Bites
Oriental Inn
King Cod
Cottage Balti
Cafe Roya
Ghurkha Express
Sukho Thai
The Food Bar
Cafe 94
Milk Lounge
Magic Taste House
Tasty Corner
Lobster Pot
Humber Road Chippy
Table 8
Hing Kee
Forno Pizza
Poppa Pizza
Pizza Palace
Pizza Zone
Papa Johns
Better Than Home
Pizza Hut
Korea House
Beeston Break
Big Fish
Hong Kong Takeaway
Ko Sing Takeaway
Shadab Balti

Coffee/Tea Shops
Time For Tea Vintage Tearoom
Caffe Nero
The Coffee Shop

Specialist retailers
The Guitar Spot
Ryman Stationers
Singer-Pfaff Sewing and Knitting
John Kirk Hi-Fi
The Flower Shop
Holland and Barrett
Opus Frames
Electronic Cigarettes
Cheque and Buy Back Centre
Grainger Games
Money Shop
Cash Converters
Beeston Cobbler
Entertainment Exchange
Happy Daze
Refan Parfumerie
Tornari Sports
Pro-Teq Mobility
Chinese Medicine Centre
Parkgate Mobility
Max Spielman
Total Fitness
PH Ultra Sport
Cycle Inn (Sid Standard)
Knit Bits
Pets Corner
Smarty Paws
Appliance Services
Beeston Plumbing Supplies
Rocky Riders
Pot n Kettle
Clock Emporium
Charlie Fogg’s

Andrew McCulloch
Onyx Goldsmiths
Diane’s Cabin
Two Little Magpies
House of Ashley Peake
ROK Jewellery
Card Factory

Hair and Beauty
Mirror Mirror
Beauty by Vickie
Cutting Edge
KH Hair
Mint Hair Boutique
Brigitte Beauty Salon
Hair by Pam
Charleys Salon
Keith Benniston
PL Hair Design
Hair Company
Stephen Harrold
Square 17
Broadgate Barbers
Michael Stark
Beast On Ink
Infinity Nails
Cutting It
ET Salon
Aurora Laser Clinic
Five Star Nails
Hair by Neil
Peter Brady Hair
Euphoria Beauty

Charity shops
Sue Ryder
Cancer Research UK
Oxfam Books and Music
Salvation Army
British Heart Foundation
Treetops Hospice

Bubble IT
Carphone Warehouse
Mobiles Plus
Dr Mobile

Large Chain retailers
WH Smiths/Post Office

Cooperative Travel

B and M Bargains
Home Bargains

Warrior Martial Arts
Team Elite Kickboxing

Issue 48: Gossip from the Hivemind

Beeston public loo: RIP. Never the most beautiful of buildings, but my, have they saved us on occasions. But no more: the bulldozers saw them off last month. But it’s ok! The council have arranged a scheme to pay local businesses to use their bogs. Oh, what’s that? They haven’t? Ahhh. Well, I’m sure all councillors who made this decision will not mind you using their toilets. Addresses available online.


Weirdest place The Beestonian has been: 10, Downing Street. Apparently we’ve been used as an example of excellence in hyperlocal media, at a presentation to the cabinet. This beats our previous weirdest reader: we heard some months back that as part of the plans for the Prince’s Foundation to work on the Barton’s development, a copy of The Beestonian was sent to Prince Charles to illustrate the spirit of the town. Of course, this information will not in any way influence our impeccable independent journalism.


Grammar schools eh? Great idea.


Y’know, I always find this column is easier to write once I’ve had a nice cup of tea and a few DUCHY ORIGINAL oat biscuits. Y’know, the ones that cost about three quid a crumb Talking of posh nosh, Marks and Sparks food are coming to town. Yes, everyone’s favourite purveyor of over-priced grub that isn’t from Waitrose are setting up shop on Chilwell Retail Park. A pipeline supplying every house in Attenborough with organic balsamic is being installed, and the ducks down the nearby nature reserve will now be fed artisan ciabatta instead of the usual Mighty White.


Yes, we know that you should not feed bread to ducks. But this is no ordinary bread. This is slow baked, herb infused Marks and Spencer bread.


We don’t condone graffiti, but we find it so hard to walk past this business and not write ‘scissors’ in marker pen.



Our beloved and totally sober MP went off on one recently, when Twitter seemed to unanimously question her rather overwrought appearance on BBC’s Question Time. “I HAVE NEVER USED THAT WORD” she thundered to a twitter user who mentioned Anna’s well-documented use of the C- word “DELETE THIS DEFAMATORY TWEET”. Calm, Anna, calm. While it is an offensive to many, we’re all open minded enough to use the word ‘Conservative” without much embarrassment.


Brilliant work from Beestonian Lewis Stainer, for recently setting up a food collection for refugees. His hard work persuaded a massive amount of food, mainly own-brand tins, to be donated. This will be then sent to Calais to keep the stateless, stranded refugees there some sustenance while our elected leaders continue to dither. Well done Lewis. Next year, with M+S firmly part of Beeston, it’ll probably be all spiralised courgette and quinoa. Or maybe we can hope there will be no need, and solutions will be found to give the hopeless hope. Sadly, that’s as likely as some shiny public Armitage Shanks being stuck in the centre of town.