Around 800 restaurant and hospitality business owners gathered at the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan to hear the winners from the Ulster regional final announced.
The highly-sought after awards, now in their 14th year, sees fierce competition annually across the industry. This year 11 outstanding businesses from across the ABC borough picked up 12 awards on the night, further cementing the region’s reputation as the Food Heartland of Northern Ireland.
The competitive judging process began with an online public vote in January hosted by the Irish Times, followed by adjudication by national experts.
Local businesses which were crowned winners across a variety of categories included:
- Embers, Armagh - Local Food Hero
- The Corner House Bar, Lurgan - Innovator of the Year
- The Portmor, Blackwatertown - Best Free From
- The Bawn Pantry, Hamiltonsbawn - James Scott, Best Restaurant Manager
- Caife Mhacha, Armagh - Best Café
- Shapla, Armagh - Best World Cuisine
- Sojourn Coffee, Armagh - Best Newcomer
- Hole in the Wall, Armagh - Pub of the Year
- Sally McNally’s, Portadown - Best Casual Dining
- Newforge House, Magheralin - Best Customer Service
- Newforge House, Magheralin - Best Hotel and Guesthouse Restaurant
- Digby’s Bar and Restaurant, Killylea - Best Gastro Pub
The local winners will now compete for the regional and all-Ireland titles, which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards all-Ireland final on Monday, May 15 in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin.
Speaking at the Ulster regional awards, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Paul Lenehan, said: “Now in their 14th year, the Irish Restaurant Awards returns with a record-breaking number of public nominations (over 130,000). This sheer number of votes highlight the support and appreciation by the general public for our hospitality sector and all who contribute to it.
"These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the existing and up and coming talent in the sector and are a reminder that hospitality is nothing without their dedicated and passionate staff. The awards continue to showcase the incredible food that is on offer in the cafes, hotels, pubs and restaurants of Ireland.”
For more infomation on the awards go to irishrestaurantawards.com