Vote for your favourite local restaurant

THE Leader Business Awards are back by popular demand and we have launched the voting for the Good Food categories.

This year’s awards will be held in the Belmont Hotel on February 23 where the great and the good of the local business community will gather to celebrate the success of this year’s winners.

The categories will be judged by an independant panel of experts however we are opening both the Best Customer Service and Good Food awards to the public vote.

Today on our website we’re looking at the licensed restaurants, including bars and takeaways section of the Good Food category. The section for licensed cafes, coffee shops & takeaways will be online tomorrow but full details of both categories are in this week’s Leader.

To vote for your favourite restaurant simply text DRL(space)FOODA(space) followed by the 2 digit number of your choice from the list of nominees printed and send to 61500 (eg DRL FOODA 01 then send to 61500)

Texts cost 25p plus your standard network rates. Remember you can vote as often as you like.

Rules and terms & conditions: Texts cost 25p plus your standard network rate. Voting closes midnight Sunday 22nd January 2012. Please note if you should enter after the stated closing deadline your entry will not be valid but you still may be charged. The winner of each category will be the nominee which receives the greatest number of votes by both text and post. For quality and training purposes we may monitor communications. SMS services are provided by Velti DR Ltd SE1 8ND – 02076335000. By supplying your telephone number you’re happy to receive SMS messages from Johnston Press and its approved business partners. Johnston Press (or via its agents) and its business partners may contact you about new promotions, products and services. Please add the word EXIT at the end of your message if you do not wish to receive these.

FOODA 01 - DOWNSHIRE - THE Downshire Arms Hotel has a history of success when it comes to being recognised for its fine food. The restaurant and bar are described as providing luxurious food, dining and a lively social atmosphere while the hotel provides spacious and elegant accommodation. The hotel management spoke of their pride in being listed in the Taste of Ulster Good Food Guide for the second year in succession. By ensuring all ingredients are sourced locally from the best Northern Ireland suppliers, the staff are confident they can do the food justice by cooking to order and keeping it simple and traditional with a Downshire twist.

FOODA 02 - BELMONT - GOOD food is always guaranteed at the Belmont Hotel and head chef Frank Lennon knows a thing or two about how to prepare it, having worked as a chef at the hotel for 27 years. The hotel has again been nominated in the Good Food category of the Leader Business Awards and Frank is delighted to have secured this important seal of approval from both customers and readers. “Good, fresh, locally sourced food has been the key to our success and I am delighted that we have been nominated for this award,” said Frank. “I have been buying meat for the restaurant from the same butcher for 15 years, so quality is consistent and customers enjoy a varied menu, with all meals very reasonably priced.”

FOODA 03 - BANNVILLE - NEW-look restaurants and revamped menus are attracting both regular and new customers to the Bannville Hotel, which has been nominated for a Good Food Award in the Leader’s 2012 District Business Awards next month. Duty manager Brenna Cullen said the hotel’s Cedar restaurant had already been refurbished and work was starting on the larger Willow Suite in the near future. “We are delighted that this work coincides with us being nominated for a Good Food Award, as we have been working hard to give both restaurants a bright new image,” said Brenna. “Alongside this work, we have appointed a new head chef, Robert Moorhead, who is coming up with lots of exciting new ideas for the menus.” The Bannville, once a private home, opened to the public in 1972 and is now serving food all day, as well as introducing a new popular ‘Afternoon Tea’ menu.

FOODA 04 - THYME SQUARE - Thyme Square set in Dromore is another popular nominee in this year’s shortlist for Good Food establishments in the Leader’s Buisness Awards. Proprietor Alastair Magowan has been in the industry for many years and, in opening Thyme Square, set out to offer discerning diners “something a little different” or a little slice of “city eating in the country”, Beautifully decorated and boasting a warm and friendly ambiance, customers can choose from a varied menu and also have the option of a well priced ‘Early Bird’ menu, as well as full a la carte.

FOODA 05 - COACH - IN addition to its nomination for ‘Customer Service, the Coach Inn has also been nominated for the Good Food category of this year’s Business Awards. Dealing with on average 10,000 customers per week over the Christmas period, the popular restaurant, bar and nightclub has had to cope with large numbers of discerning diners, whether for lunch, dinner or pre-booked functions. Running a busy establishment means paying close attention to detail, with consistency across all sectors the key to success, according to operations manager Michael Johnston. “We serve high quality food and provide excellent personal service and I am glad this has been recognised by our customers,” he said. “Good food and customer service are the cornerstone of all establishments operating in the hospitality industry and we are pleased that our efforts in this regard have not gone unnoticed.”

FOODA 06 - JK’S - FOR cinema fans who like to dine before they see a film or show, JK’s pizza and grill adjoining Iveagh Movie Studios in Banbridge has proved just the ticket. Diners have nominated the new-look restaurant for a Good Food Award in the Leader’s Business Awards which take place in the Belmont Hotel on February 23. JK’s, which has been shortlisted in the Category A licensed restaurants (including bars and hotels) section, specialises in pizza and hot food, with its adjoining cafe also serving teas, coffees, wines, beers, light snacks and pastries. Ample parking is nearby and customers are assured of a friendly, welcoming atmosphere where they can relax in the knowledge of never being late for the movies.

FOODA 07 - QUAILS AT THE GALLERY - WELL known Banbridge butchers, Quail’s, have been nominated for the Good Food Award for their cuisine at the FE McWilliam Gallery. The popular restaurant has been open for three years, although Quail’s in the town centre has been a landmark in the town for 114 years. Expressing his delight at the nomination, Joe Quail said the Gallery restaurant served tasty “contemporary cuisine” and this, added to a high standard of service from hard working staff, had been key to its success. “We are delighted to be nominated by Leader readers, especially having already received a major hospitality award in Ireland,” said Mr Quail. “We strive to serve great food to our customers and it’s great to be appreciated.”