The Irish Restaurant Awards are organised by the Restaurants Association of Ireland. This is the 13th year of the Awards which have grown exponentially since its humble beginnings in 2009. The aim of the awards is to recognise excellence in the restaurant and wider hospitality industry from Best Customer Service Experience to Best Chef, and Best Café to Best World Cuisine and Best Sustainable Practices. The awards have a rigorous process of nominations and judging. Last Tuesday evening, the 23rd of August, members of the hospitality industry from all over Ulster came together in the Slieve Russel Hotel for the regions award ceremony.

Created in Cavan,  Cavan’s own collaborative food, drink and hospitality community was well represented on the night. Our hospitality members reached the final for many of the awards including best chef, best restaurant, best gastro pub, pub of the year and many more. Here are the winners from the night:

Local Food Hero:

The Local Food Hero award recognises the individual that promotes food culture in their locality and inspires people to get involved with food. They may be actively encouraging the restaurants in their area to use local produce, or perhaps they are working to attract food tourists by creating food trails and markets. Or maybe they produce the finest quality ingredients. The local food here for Cavan was awarded to Silke Cropp- owner of Corleggy Cheese in Belturbet. A worthy winner of this award for all that she does to promote the County with her amazing cheeses.

Pub of the Year:

The Pub of the Year is one that caters to all tastes – from whiskey lovers to craft beer enthusiasts. A wide selection of quality beverages will be on offer. The atmosphere should be comfortable and welcoming with that traditional ‘pub feel’. Staff will value their customers and be able to recommend drinks without hesitation. The winner should be popular with locals and visitors alike and should inspire high standards. It’s no surprise therefore that the winner of pub of the year in Cavan is the Anglers Rest in Ballyconnell. This family run bar is the centre of the community in Ballyconnell that has a smile and an ear for every customer. Congratulations to all!

Best Casual Dining:

The Oak Room, Cavan Town, Co. Cavan.

The award for the best casual dining establishment will be offering top quality food, great customer service and genuine hospitality. Whether it is table service or order at a counter, the atmosphere should be relaxed and informal. Décor, style of food and culture of each establishment will vary widely but should all complement each other within each restaurant. The Oak room restaurant was the county winner for Cavan at this year’s awards. The popular Cavan restaurant ticks the box in all the requirements for an amazing restaurant experience. Well done to Norbert, Keith and all the team!

Best Hotel and Guesthouse restaurant:

The best hotel & guesthouse restaurant will encompass all the qualities of great hospitality – exemplary customer service, top quality food and a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. Somewhere that extends its outstanding hospitality to both residents and walk-in guests alike. There are so many amazing hotels and guesthouses in Cavan that were worthy of this award but on the night MacNean House and restaurant took home the accolade. There are few other hotel and guesthouse restaurants that could boast a waitlist of 12 months for reservations! Well deserved and congratulations to Neven Maguire and his team.

Best Customer Service:

The winner of the best customer service award will be one that consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty to its customers. Staff will be attentive, friendly, and prompt, but not overbearing. It will be evident that they have been trained in the art of great customer service, and they will also be knowledgeable of both the food and wine menus. They will be professional and always well-presented and represent the customs and culture of the restaurant. Cavan is well known for its great hospitality and service, so we are sure the judges had a hard job picking the winning restaurant. The team at the Oak room restaurant were awarded best customer service on the night! The second award for Norbert and his team.

Best Gastro Pub:

Derragrra Inn
– Murphs Gastro Pub, Butlers Bridge, Co. Cavan.

This award recognises the gastro pub that offers an innovative menu of food which suitably complements their drink selection. The Best Gastropub provides restaurant quality dining, whilst not compromising on the traditional ‘pub’ atmosphere. Table service is not a necessity – some gastropubs require food to be ordered at the bar. Customer service should still be of a high standard. The deserving winners on the night for best Gastro pub in Cavan went to Murphs Bistro at the Derrygarra Inn! Big congratulations to Fergus and his team!

Best Chef:

We are well known for our top-class chefs here in Cavan so the winner of this award will be on top of their game. This award represents the chef who demonstrates an immense passion for food – someone who is committed to quality and the pursuit of creative new dining experiences. The winner will introduce their diners to exciting new flavour combinations, and consistently produces top quality dishes. The award was won by Carmel McGirr for Cavan from MacNean House and Restaurant. Congratulations to Carmel and all of her colleagues at McNean House.

Best Restaurant:

The restaurant association were looking for a restaurant that ticks all the boxes – exemplary customer service, wonderful atmosphere and of course, outstanding food. A place that you would recommend to anyone who wants to impress their guests, and that you would return to time and time again. It was a clean sweep for MacNean House and restaurant as they received the award for best restaurant in Cavan. This Cavan restaurant guarantees an amazing experience everytime you visit. Get your name on the reservation list today.

We are very lucky in Cavan to be home of such a vibrant food and drinks scene. Our many wonderful producers and retailers are delighted to have so many hospitality businesses ready to promote the local produce and help by putting Cavan on the foodie map. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners at the Restaurant Association awards. Best of luck in the national finals on the 19th of September.

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