A Teesside restaurant chain has beaten some of the biggest names in the business to clinch the title of best in the country.

Al Forno has been named the Best Restaurant Group at the English Italian Awards.

The business, which has restaurants on Middlesbrough’s Southfield Road, Ingleby Barwick and Darlington, beat branches of Carluccio’s, Gino D’Acampo’s My Restaurant, and San Carlo. Uno Momento of Middlesbrough, Stokesley, and Darlington was also shortlisted.

And it is no surprise that owner Erdal Kuzgun and Liam Percy are thrilled with the award.

“I feel great, said Erdal.

“It was the best news to get, especially knowing we were going up against all of those big chains.

“The award makes me feel extremely proud and it really shows what hard work and dedication can do.

“Liam and I set up our first restaurant in Middlesbrough in 2006 and we are still here and still growing all these years later. We now employ around 150 members of staff – some who have been with us for eight, nine, 10 years.”

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Erdal said mystery diners ate at the restaurant as part of the judging process. A voting system for the public was also in place.

“I think the judges liked that we are a family and we’re from around here, that our staff and suppliers are all local and that we have a lot of regular customers coming back through our doors,” said Erdal.

“We also have a great relationship with the community and do a lot of charity work. We also sponsor football and netball teams.”

Al Forno, Ingleby Barwick

The English Italian Awards took place in Manchester earlier this month.

The Best Restaurant Group award “looks to celebrate those who can bring all aspects of a successful business together with finesse on a consistent basis, balancing more than one restaurant in the process.”

© 2018 Tees Info

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