Restaurants shine at awards night
PORT Douglas restaurants and caterers shone at the 2013 Savour Australia Restaurant Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence with nine finalists and three major winners.
The awards were presented on Monday night in Brisbane and Salsa Bar and Grill, finalists for best contemporary bar and grill, were given an honourable mention for best restaurant caterer and were honoured with the North Queensland Consumer Vote Award.
Owners of Salsa, Billy Conway and Rhys Bawden, were thrilled with being given top honours by their customers.
‘‘It feels fantastic to win people’s choice, it’s not an award we can nominate for, like all the other awards, and it has nothing to do with the judges, it’s the people voting for you,’’ Rhys Bawden said.
‘‘We hope we are doing the right things and we strive to keep customers happy, make them feel when they walk in our front door they are home and an extended part of our family.
‘‘It’s really nice to get the recognition back for all of our staff that what we are doing is the best in North Queensland, from Airlie Beach up to here.’’
Bel Cibo’s owner Andy Gray was delighted at the restaurant’s award for Best Italian Restaurant in North Qld for the second year running. The zone is huge, from FNQ to the Gold Coast. ‘‘It was quite unexpected,’’ Mr Gray said, ‘‘because of the size of the zone.’’
‘‘Awards don’t necessarily make us any busier but they’re nice to receive anyway for the recognition. And it’s good for the area. It’s good a few of us in this area managed to score something this year again.’’
Port Douglas Catering and Events took out the highest accolade for the catering business, winning the best events caterer of the year and also best wedding caterer, which owner Cam Walton said was fabulous.
‘‘All my staff work hard for what we do and to have this as an achievement really affirms what we do, I’m very proud of what we do and it’s nice to get the recognition,’’ he said.
‘‘For me it’s about giving people who use our services, winning these awards gives them confidence in our ability and from a marketing point of view it’s great.’’
Other restaurants who were finalists in the award include Lure for breakfast restaurant and cafe restaurant, Sassi Cucina and Bar for new restaurant, Seafood restaurant finalists were Finz, 2 Fish and On The Inlet, Zinc were finalists for Contemporary Australian Restaurant and The Kitchen Port Douglas were finalists for best family restaurant. The winning businesses will now compete in Sydney in October.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: the crew at Salsa Bar & Grill celebrate their awards