Duets seems like a lovely restaurant serving classic British fare in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset. Go on Sunday and get roast sirloin with Yorkshire pudding followed by the sticky toffee pudding (Brits love pudding). "Just Perfect," says kemblerita from Cardiff on Trip Advisor; "Absolutely Faultless!!!" raved rapide13, who took advantage of the restaurant's wedding reception availability; "I'm sick of it!" says Richard Evans, who lives next door and has spent the past several years complaining publicly about the restaurant.
That last comment comes from the new signs Evans has posted on his windows as part of the escalating feud between the local resident and his restaurant neighbor. Both parties have some serious longevity claims—Duets has been opened for 31 years, and Evans has been living next door for 30.
The window-sized signs read "His Extractor Fan Has Been Polluting My Outside Space For Years // I'm Sick Of It!" and have inspired husband and wife Sean and Lyn O'Flaherty, who own Duets, to post their own notice.
"You may have noticed a message from our neighbor in the window making derogatory claims about 'extractor fan polluting my outdoor space,'" starts a note taped up in the restaurant's window. "Duets would like to assure it's [sic] customers and residents that all noise levels emitted by our extraction system remain fully compliant with North Somerset Council's assessment of noise pollution."
But here's the thing, Richard Evans isn't complaining about the noise being emitted by Duets. "It pollutes my back yard with the smell of garlic. In the summer, I sat inside with the windows and doors shut," he told Bristol Live. "I've lived here for more than 30 years and I've asked him over and over again, but he says, 'Don't live next door to a restaurant'."
Evans doesn't specify what he asked the O'Flahertys to do about their garlic smell. (Change the menu? Perfume the perimeter?) Two years ago, when he first complained, the restaurant did update their fan system, which served to satisfy the Environmental Health Agency at the time, but now the agency is investigating again as part of this new complaint.
The reality of the situation: Cooking food creates an odor, and so there's likely only so much Duets can do to stem the smell. If Evans really doesn't want to move, might we suggest leaning into the local charm by toasting some cheesy bread to complement the scent?