AS soulless chain pubs continue to pop up across the country, promising pints for a pound and two-for-one meal deals, it is no wonder the traditional village pub is struggling.
A villager myself, I am passionate about preserving the role of the public house as the central hub in any community.
So imagine my joy when I opened the doors of the New Inn, in North Thoresby, to the sound of local banter and the clinking of cutlery as diners tucked into their traditional pub grub.
And while, in some village pubs, outsiders are sometimes greeted with accusing eyes, here it couldn't be more different. It was warm and welcoming.
The menu had all the greats – steak pie, sausage and mash – and some more adventurous dishes too – skewered king prawns and poached salmon salad.
After a long day, our appetites were well and truly worked up so we ordered starters and mains, hoping they would be enough to kill growing temptations for a dessert.
To begin, I ordered the savoury stuffed mushrooms, deep fried and served with Stilton (£7.25), while my dining partner went for the devil mushrooms, which were pan fried in a tomato and garlic sauce and topped with cheese (£7).
With my aversion to greasy food, I should have known better than to go for a fried dish.
While well presented, the mushrooms were dripping in fat, which actually took over the taste of the Stilton – despite the cheese being known for its strength.
My friend tucked into her dish, but halfway through said she was disappointed with the lack of taste – as an Italian, she is quite particular about her food.
I enviously stared at her fat-free dish while she eyed up the crispy batter encasing my mushrooms and I offered to swap with her.
Our tastes were instantly satisfied and we left both plates empty.
Encouraged by the fact that whatever disappointment we originally felt was caused by a simple matter of different tastes, we felt ready to tackle the next course.
For me, came the skewered, battered king prawns with rice, chips and salad (£10.65) and for my partner, the poached salmon fillet drizzled in a lemon and parsley butter (£10.75).
The mains were considerably more to our tastes than the starters – there was no need for plate swapping this time, limiting it to a sample mouthful of each.
There were three skewers with four large prawns on each, dripping in chilli sauce and nowhere near as greasy as the stuffed mushrooms.
They were light, crispy and cooked right the way through.
To be picky, I would have preferred the sauce in a pot for dipping, as it had made the batter go a little soggy in places, but that is the only negative thing I can say about it.
Having sampled a mouthful of the salmon, I ate my dish with regret at not ordering it myself.
Cooked to perfection, the salmon flaked away from the fork and the sauce was buttery and delicious.
The atmosphere at the New Inn was friendly and the balance between restaurant and pub was just right.
It is what it is, a village pub that does good food.
But the best bit was seeing a village pub seemingly do so well during a time when venues are closing up and down the country.
Only recently, the Grimsby Telegraph reported the news that Highwood Brewery, which produces Tom Wood's beer, had gone into liquidation. Another local casualty of the rising price of a pint.
It was clear the locals were supporting the New Inn and, judging by the empty plates that surrounded us, enjoying the food too.
But people living further afield should also do their bit for the businesses that are out in the sticks.
If you live in Grimsby or Cleethorpes, take a jaunt out of town and discover the hidden gems of the villages – the pubs that really are a place where everybody knows your name.