Staff from three local restaurants were left with a big smile on their faces after scooping top regional food awards.
Fish and chip shop Linfords, in Market Deeping, Red India, in Oakham, and the Rutland Water branch of Italian chain L’Oliveto have all won awards in their categories in the East Midlands Food and Drink Awards.
The ceremony was held at Greetham Valley Hotel, Golf and Conference Centre on Sunday after thousands of people had voted for their favourite eatery over the past four months.
Linfords, in Market Place, Market Deeping, which has a restaurant as well as offering a takeaway service, is owned and run by couple Paul and Patricia Linfold.
The business had a spectacular night, claiming two awards, for best fish and chips, and best customer care for service/front of house.
Paul said: “It’s brilliant and we are all thrilled with the award. We have all put in a lot of hard work and it’s nice to see so many of our customers have supported us in nominating the restaurant. I think it’s our attention to detail which makes the difference. We put so much care into our preparation, cooking and service.”
Benny Ladjimi and his team at the Rutland Water branch of local Italian chain L’Oliveto, are celebrating after being voted as the Best European Restaurant.
It has been a difficult year for the family-run business following a blaze at its restaurant in Church Street, Oakham in June, which forced the venue to close. It is hoped it will reopen in March or April.
However the family’s restaurant at Rutland Water has been flourishing and customers have shown their appreciation by voting for it in the awards, organised by East Midland Newspapers which owns the Rutland and Stamford Mercury.
Benny, who runs the business with brother Roberto, said: “We are all very proud of our award and it’s a great achievement for us.
“It’s been a hard year for us with the fire, which was a big setback for us, but we’ve been strong and got through this difficult time.
“It means so much to us that we have won and our thanks go to everyone in the area who has supported us and voted for us in the awards. We are very, very grateful.”
Staff at Red India, in Melton Road, Oakham, are also celebrating after winning the Best Indian Restaurant award.
Manager Abdul Salik said: “It’s fantastic news for us. To be the best in the area is very good.
“We have a menu that only uses fresh ingredients and we love interacting with our customers and making them feel welcome. We appreciate all the support and dedication we’ve had from our customers.”
Mr Salik added that he was working towards opening a second restaurant, in Stockerton Road, Uppingham.
Voting for the East Midlands Food and Drink Awards began in July and ran in 12 newspapers across the East Midlands. The winners of the 14 categories were announced at the awards ceremony.