MONAGHAN RESTAURANT AWARDS

Courthouse Restaurant Carrickmacross

Courthouse Restaurant Carrickmacross

TOP RESTAURANTS IN MONAGHAN RECEIVE AWARDS Northern Standard Thursday 9th April p.17
Michael Fisher

Chef Conor Mee and his Courthouse Restaurant in Carrickmacross received the top accolades for County Monaghan in the Ulster regional final of the Irish Restaurant Awards, held on Tuesday evening. The high standard of customer service at the Courthouse was also recognised in that category.

The Batch Loaf Restaurant, Monaghan Photo: Facebook

The Batch Loaf Restaurant, North Road, Monaghan Photo: Facebook

The Batch Loaf in North Road, Monaghan, which opened last November (and where I enjoyed a meal recently), was nominated as the best newcomer. Other awards went to Snaffle’s Restaurant at Castle Leslie, Glaslough and to Andy’s in Monaghan for best gastro pub.

Andy's Restaurant, Market Street, Monaghan Photo: TripAdvisor Sarah-Lou H, May 2013

Andy’s Restaurant, Market Street, Monaghan Photo: TripAdvisor Sarah-Lou H, May 2013

Over 500 restaurant owners, hotel restaurants and staff celebrated their hard work and achievements at the event, which saw many well-known restaurateurs turn out at Titanic Belfast to see if they had won one of the prestigious awards.

Courthouse Restaurant is run and owned by Conor Mee and Charlotte Carr. They met up while training in the tourism college in Charlotte’s native town of Killybegs in County Donegal.

Conor Mee and Charlotte Carr, Courthouse Restaurant, Carrickmacross

Conor Mee and Charlotte Carr, Courthouse Restaurant, Carrickmacross

This was during the mid 1990s, after which Conor worked in Ashford Castle, Australia and then the Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross as Sous Chef. He went onto to open the highly successful Rosso Restaurant in Dundalk in 2006. Shortly afterwards Charlotte took the helm as restaurant manager, having spent many years as restaurant supervisor in the Restaurant at the Nuremore. In October 2009 both decided to move on from Rosso and to take over the former ‘Mollys’ site in Carrickmacross. The restaurant has won a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the past two years.

The Monaghan winners were:

Best Restaurant:
Courthouse Restaurant, Carrickmacross

Best Chef:
Conor Mee of Courthouse Restaurant, Carrickmacross

Best Gastro Pub:
Andy’s Bar and Restaurant, Monaghan

The Fiddlers Elbow, Carrickmacross  Photo: Facebook

The Fiddlers Elbow, Carrickmacross Photo: Facebook

Best Casual Dining:
Bistro Restaurant at The Fiddlers Elbow, Carrickmacross (where I had my lunch yesterday, Tuesday)

Snaffles Restaurant, Castle Leslie Estate, Glaslough Photo: Website

Snaffles Restaurant, Castle Leslie Estate, Glaslough Photo: Website

Best Hotel Restaurant:
Snaffles Restaurant at Castle Leslie Estate, Glaslough

Best Customer Service:
Courthouse Restaurant

Best Wine Experience:
Snaffles Restaurant at Castle Leslie Estate, Glaslough

Best Newcomer:
The Batch Loaf, Monaghan

Best Restaurant Manager in Ulster:
Saul McConnell of Deanes Deli & Bistro, Belfast

Adrian Cummins, CEO RAI  Photo:  ITIC Ireland

Adrian Cummins, CEO RAI Photo: ITIC Ireland

Speaking at the awards, the Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins said; “The Irish Restaurant Awards are celebrating their seventh year and have become the island’s biggest food awards. The credibility that these awards have is reflected in the amount of nominations they received. Over 30,000 votes were cast across nine categories, showing that these are the awards that everyone wants to win”.

“The Irish restaurant scene is internationally recognised for its high calibre of restaurateurs and chefs. These awards celebrate the people that make the restaurant sector the dynamic and exciting industry it is. They are the people who provide 72,000 jobs to our economy and generate revenue in excess of €2 billion. We’re recognising the talent, hard work and commitment that everyone here gives to the food industry. Tonight, everyone is a winner.”

Food outlets were nominated under the categories of Best Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Restaurant Manager, Best Hotel Restaurant, Best Casual Dining, Best Gastro Pub, Best Customer Service, Best Wine Experience, Best Emerging Irish Cuisine, Best Kids Size Me and Local Food Hero.

All county winners now compete for the Ulster and All-Ireland Title, which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards in the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, Dublin on Monday 25th May.  RAI

There are three components to the second phase of the process. Each element is independently assessed by Ernst and Young.

Mystery Guest Visit (55%): this component of the awards is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant. All county winners and Dublin shortlist receive a mystery guest visit throughout the months of April and May.
National Awards Academy (35%): the national awards Academy is made up of representatives from each of the regional judging panels and will meet in May to judge the county winners and the Dublin shortlist. The Academy members include food writers, journalists, academics and hospitality magazine editors.
Menu Judging (10%): all county winners and the Dublin shortlist in each category are asked to submit a copy of their menu.

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