A RESTAURANT has opened in a former pub “dive” which was a nightmare for neighbours.

Rare Cow is enjoying a roaring trade after opening up at the former New Mayflower pub site in Jackson’s Lane, Billericay – once the site of antisocial and loutish behaviour.

The steak house took on the unit last month after running a successful first business in Writtle, Chelmsford.

It follows the troubled Mayflower pub closing after allegedly selling alcohol to underage drinkers.

Southend Standard: Jessica Wright enjoyed singing on the TOWIE Christmas single

Jess Wright

Rare Cow owner Richard Lester, said: “We heard the pub had a bad reputation and customers have come in and said how pleased they are with us opening.

“They are really thankful and say we have transformed the place.

“Customers come in and go quietly, there is no screaming and shouting.

“It was a dive before. Our drinks prices are quite high because of the quality so it doesn’t attract underage drinkers or antisocial people.”

In 2012 police called for a licensing review into opening times at the New Mayflower pub after officers were called to 35 incidents in two months.

They included suspected robberies, family punch-ups and a child being bitten by a dog.

Basildon Council implemented time restrictions, forcing the pub to close no later than 11.30pm.

Already the new restaurant has had special guests of Premiership footballers from Tottenham, and stars from Towie including Jess Wright, Ricky Rayment and Bobby Norris.

Restaurant manager Olivier Laporte, said it had been a big success.

He said: “Business is getting better and better every week.

“We are fully booked every weekend and increasing our Sunday and Thursday trade.

“People are talking about us and all the feedback is saying it is a lovely experience.

“In Billericay there are lots of chain restaurants and there isn’t a proper steak house so we are confident for the future.”