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Congratulations to local ‘Food Champion’ Sugarcane Café Bistro, Comber - Wed 9 Dec

Date: Wednesday 9 December

Extract Copyright - Irish News, Let's give a tasty salute to our 'Food Champions' by Gary McDonald Business Editor : Read full article at Irish News Website

Lcokdown hasn't necessarily meant knock-down for the north's ever-adaptable hospitality sector, despite many restaurateurs and eateries being forced into a repivot and improvisation of their businesses.

And this has been underlined by the overwhelming response to the Irish News 'Food Champions' initiative, held in partnership with Food NI and Henderson Foodservice, BD Foods & Foodco.

We had asked readers to tell us how their favourite food outlets had gone beyond the normal during these unprecedented times to ensure customers were still able to avail of an enjoyable gastronomic experience.

Votes were cast in their thousands over the last month in our special poll, with readers anxious to tell us how their favourite eateries were inventing new solutions and coming up with answers to questions they've never had to consider previously.

On Tuesday 8 December the winners were revealed, a list of exemplary Food Champions across a number of categories, including innovation, outstanding customer service, sourcing local, free from, home delivery and adaptability.

The overall ‘Champion of Champions' award has gone to Café Marmalade in Banbridge, a small but inviting coffee shop in the town's main thoroughfare which thrives on making good quality food accompanied by exceptional beverages.

With each Stormont Executive announcement Café Marmalade has adapted to the changes, including extending its opening hours in periods when it could trade, and even introducing a sumptuous takeaway street food menu.

The Food Champion winners in the various categories are:

:: Sourcing Local Food – Sugarcane Café Bistro (Comber)

:: Outstanding Customer Service – Café Marmalade (Banbridge)

:: Excellence – The Taphouse Bar & Restaurant (Bellaghy)

:: Innovation – Square Bistro (Lisburn)

:: Above & Beyond – Barrel & Bean (Dromore)

:: Quality Food – Tullymill Restaurant (Florencecourt)

:: Free From – Fulla Beans (Warrenpoint)

:: Lockdown Home Delivery – The Yellow Heifer (Camlough)

:: Adaptability – Nugelato (Newcastle)

:: Service to NHS workers – McCooeys (Newry)

:: Authenticity – Spaghetti Junction (Derry)

:: Overall winner ‘Champion of Champions' – Café Marmalade (Banbridge)