The British Larder in Bromeswell, Suffolk has been named Best Food Pub in the Great British Pub Awards 2012 and co-founder Ross Pike has revealed the award has helped drive interest from potential investors in the business.
Also celebrating were Gareth Kavanagh and Lisa Connor who run and manage Greene King-leased pub The Lass O'Gowrie in Manchester which was named the best venue for live music and entertainment and also scooped the night's top accolade - Great British Pub of the Year 2012.
Ross Pike, co-founder of The British Larder website and Suffolk pub, collected the Best Food Pub award last night in a ceremony hosted by Jason Manford at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
Speaking to BigHospitality the day after the night before, Pike said he was only briefly celebrating before returning to the kitchen - "I am back at work today - it was my first service off for about four months!"
It was the second year in a row the Suffolk-based business was nominated in a category in the awards but the first time Pike and fellow co-founder Madalene Bonvini-Hamel walked away with a gong.
"We were quietly confident. In the category there were two others that we thought were really good contenders. Everyone in the pub trade is obviously working very hard - we have been working 15-hour days for four months without a day off - and you go to an event like last night and it actually makes it worthwhile."
Pike revealed the secret to the pair's success had been taking tips and advice from lots of people they respect in the industry.
"This little pub two and a half years ago was an absolute hole and we have now firmly put it on the map. There is so much good produce here - Maddy has got a book coming out at the end of November and one of the things she says is Suffolk could be a self-sufficient island because we have everything - ale, spirits, every vegetable, fish and meat.
"No one is shouting outside of Suffolk about it and that is hopefully what we are doing," he said.
The award comes less than two weeks after Oakman Inns announced its plans to sell its stake in The British Larder in order to focus on the growth of its own core estate.
"We have got some very interested parties at the moment and it is just ironing out the right one for us."
"Over the next three to five years our number one priority is putting accommodation on site because every other phone call now is people coming for the weekend looking for somewhere to stay. Every other phone call we are missing £100."
The Lass O'Gowrie was named Great British Pub of the Year in the awards, organised by BigHospitality's sister publication The Publican's Morning Advertiser, after the judges decided its community and destination pub events had raised it above its peers.
The venue was also praised for responding positively to the loss of trade as a result of the move by the BBC out of its nearby Manchester headquarters on Oxford Road to Salford.
The winners of the Great British Pub Awards 2012:
- Great British Pub of the Year - The Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester
- Best Family Pub - The Pigs, Norfolk
- Best Freehouse Pub - The Queens Arms, Dorset
- Best Community Pub - The Old Sergeant, Wandsworth
- Best Tenanted/Leased Pub - The Royal Oak, Cumbria
- Best Spirits Pub - Mokoko, St Albans
- Best Charitable Pub - The Ship Victory, Chester
- Best Newcomer - The Eagle & Child, Lancashire
- Best Smoking Area - The Royal Oak, West Yorkshire
- Best Live Music & Entertainment Pub - The Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester
- Best Cask Beer Pub - The York Tap, York
- Best Sports Pub - The Famous Three Kings, West Kensington
- Best Cellar Pub - The Cradock Arms, Leicstershire
- Best Turnaround Pub - The Methuen Arms, Wiltshire
- Best Managed Pub - The John Millington, Cheshire
- Best Food Pub - The British Larder, Suffolk