THE state’s best steak and burger are within the Hunter’s boundaries, according to the state’s peak hotel body.
Newcastle pubs emerged as the major winners from the state’s peak hotel awards on Tuesday, with seven wins shared between just two venues.
The Lucky, which rose from the ashes of the former Lucky Hotel on Crown Street less than a year ago, won five awards at the NSW Australian Hotels Association’s Awards for Excellence on Tuesday.
Willow Tree Inn’s Graze won best steak and best restaurant while The Junction Hotel won best traditional pub accommodation and best casual dining in northern NSW.
The Lucky cleaned up, winning overall hotel of the year in the country category as well as best deluxe pub-style accommodation and best burger.
Co-owner Hayley McCloy, who was named best single hotel operator, said the five wins were a surprise.
“To be honest we thought we had a fairly good chance for best redevelopment because a lot of hard work, time and effort went into the redevelopment of the hotel,” Ms McCloy said.
“We were up against places like the Establishment hotel in the accommodation and some of Sydney’s best pubs in the burger category.
“In our wildest dreams we didn’t think we would win.”
Other Hunter nominees included Harrigans Irish Pub at Pokolbin, the Swansea Hotel, Hunter Street’s Clarendon Hotel, the Sunnyside Tavern, the Junction Hotel, Rutherford’s Bradford Hotel, Mayfield’s Stag & Hunter, Branxton’s Royal Federal Hotel, the Sydney Junction Hotel, Belmont’s Gunyah Hotel and the Honeysuckle Hotel.
The Kent, the Willow Tree Inn, 221 Restaurant and Bar at Cessnock’s Royal Oak Hotel, The George at Greenhills and Merewether’s Prince of Wales also made the list.
Ms McCloy said the Hunter’s strong showing was testament to a golden age in the city’s hospitality sector.
“We have those quality offerings now that people in Newcastle have been crying out for,” she said.
“We are definitely making our mark.