Former contract caterers Sean Valentine and John Duffield have bought the New Mill restaurant in Eversley, Hampshire, for more than £2m.
The AA-rosette property includes eight acres of grounds and, as part of the deal, the pair will open a 24-bedroom hotel on the site within three years.
Valentine was managing director of Crown Group-owned caterer Missing Ingredients before he left in July. Duffield was managing director and founder of Just Deli, which was bought by support services company OCS in October 2004.
They are looking to win a second AA rosette within 18 months and boost turnover at the Grade II-listed property from £1.1m to £1.8m in five years.
Valentine, who left Missing Ingredients in July, told Caterer: "With a restaurant you're free to define your own destiny. There are more opportunities and better returns to be made than in contract catering, which is a more restricted and challenging market."
Average spend per head at the restaurant, which was bought from former Restaurant Association chairman Nick Scade, will be £22 for lunch and £40 for dinner and the menu will be tweaked to become "modern English", he added.