Hunt is on for Northamptonshire’s top pub

Grant Wentzel with Julie Barclay and Rob Windeler
Grant Wentzel with Julie Barclay and Rob Windeler

The search is on to find the favourite pubs in the county as part of the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

The event, which is in its fifth year, has a number of categories and the Community Pub of the Year – Rural and Community Pub of the Year – Town categories are being promoted by the Northamptonshire Telegraph and its sister paper, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

The categories are being jointly sponsored by Collins Fresh Produce.

Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, which devised the annual celebration of the county’s culinary prowess, is now on the hunt for nominees.

Rachel Mallows, of the Mallows Company, is the co-ordinator of the event.

She said: “We are most grateful not only to existing sponsors but also those who have joined us this year as the last four years have demonstrated that this competition is invaluable in promoting our excellent food and drink sector here in Northamptonshire.

“We are very confident that this year’s awards can only build on that great work and we simply can’t wait for those entries to start flooding in.”

Last year’s winner in the town pub category was The Swan and Helmet, in Northampton, and the winner in the rural category was The George, in Tiffield.

Rob Windeler, who became landlord of the Queen’s Head in Bulwick about two years ago, said he thought the key to a good pub was consistency, quality and value.

The pub recently scooped the Peterborough and District Pub of the Year award, and is now in the running for the regional prize.

The recognition from Camra was all the more impressive as Mr Windeler, and landlady Julie barclay, had not been involved in the pub trade before their move to the Queen’s Head.

He added: “I don’t like going into a pub where the tables are already set up for food because if you just want to go for a drink it can make people feel uncomfortable.

“We have a bar and restaurant and the two are separate, although people can eat in the bar if they like.”

Mr Windeler said the pub would be entering the awards.

A survey by pub chain Greene King said most pub-goers were looking for a good beer, served by a friendly landlord, rather than add-ons like free Wi-fi or coffee.

The pub chain said two-thirds of people were also looking for good quality food from their local pub.

To enter the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awawrds, or to nominate your favourite town or village pub, visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk.

Alternatively, email rachel@rachelmallows.com or call 01933 664437.

The event also has two Twitter accounts, @nshire_food and @letyourselfgrow.

The closing date for nominations for thecommunity Pub of the Year category is on Monday, June 3.