The North’s biggest hospitality show, Northern Restaurant & Bar, which took place in Manchester Central from Tuesday 21st to Wednesday 22nd March had set its standards high and did not disappoint. After an incredible two days where thousands of professionals networked, bought products and found new suppliers, the trade show was a massive success. During the show’s 17th year, it hosted 300 exhibitors including OpenTable, 65 live demos as well as the NRB Debate, NRB Fringe and NRB Top Fifty Awards.
What became clear during the NRB: a continued boom in ambitious, independent restaurants and bars across the North of England which is driving Northern Restaurant & Bar to record-breaking levels. Initial exhibitor feedback has been very positive, highlighting that this year’s Northern Restaurant & Bar benefited from a great mix of informative debates by industry professionals as well as world-class competitions and food & drink demonstrations. Of course, these champions in their field were recognised for their contribution to this diverse sector at the NRB.
And the winners are…
NRB Cocktail Competition
The annual Northern Restaurant & Bar cocktail competition, sponsored by Whitley Neill Dry Gin, was won by Thomas Gedney-Higham from Bibi’s Italianissimo in Leeds, who created a cocktail called Terra De Fume (Smoke of the Earth) that wowed the judges. His prize will see Gedney-Higham embarking on a VIP trip of a lifetime to South Africa.
NRB Top Fifty Awards
Also highly anticipated were the results of the sixth NRB Top Fifty Awards celebrating legendary names and rising stars of the restaurateur scene. This year’s operators cover 210 brands, 1012 sites and over 21,800 employees. The NRB Top Fifty 2017, in association with Kuits Solicitors, surprised with a mix of long-established names and an exciting ten new entries including Adele Ashley, head chef at Filmore & Union, and the team from Hickory’s Smokehouse barbecue group.
Three special achievement awards were presented to Jimmy del Guidice and Mark McQuater for overhauling the Revolution Bars Group, Gary Usher for crowdfunding the launch of three North West restaurants including Sticky Walnut, and Paul Moran and Jeremy Roberts for their outstanding efforts driving their business Living Ventures forwards after the loss of the company’s founder Tim Bacon in 2016. Thom Hetherington, CEO of event organiser Holden Media, says “This year’s list has shown steady churn with an influx of new entrants particularly from Yorkshire and the North East. Research by CGA Peach demonstrates that the region’s ambitious, independent operators are thriving despite increasing competition, and it is the people who make up the NRB Top Fifty who are driving this dynamic.”
To sum up, Northern Bar & Restaurant 2017 has been a roaring success – or to put it into Thom Hetherington’s words: “I think that in terms of volume, variety and sheer quality, Northern food and drink lovers have never had it so good.”
Photo credit: 2016 Holden Media Limited. All rights reserved.