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Midland pub ‘thrilled’ with four award nominations

(l-r) Daren and Louise Bale outside The Hop Pole Inn

A family-run Midland pub and restaurant is in the running to scoop a collection of prestigious food awards.

The Hop Pole Inn in Bewdley, has been shortlisted for four gongs – ‘restaurant of the year’, ‘outstanding contribution to food’, ‘customer service’ and ‘best use of local produce’. The potential food honours are part of two separate awards co-ordinated by tourism body Visit Worcestershire and lifestyle magazine Worcestershire Life.

The pub is run by husband and wife team Daren and Louise Bale who said they were ‘thrilled’ to be shortlisted having only just celebrated their first year in the pub. Following a refurbishment programme it has been a busy 12 months for the couple who have brought new jobs to the area and established the Hop Pole as a restaurant renowned for its food and local produce.

Daren, already a multi award-winning chef having spent 13 years producing a range of original dishes, said: “The whole team has played a huge role in what has been a whirlwind 12 months. To be in with a chance of winning up to four food awards is one of the proudest moments of my career.

“Just to be shortlisted is an amazing achievement for us all. I am delighted as our customers have really embraced what we’re trying to do in terms of using local produce, supporting the county’s farmers and offering an affordable menu. I hope that winning blend will turn into an award-winning combination later this month.”

Louise, who is front-of-house at the Hop Pole added: “To be shortlisted for four awards is fantastic and we are especially thrilled as it’s our customers who have voted for us in their numbers. To us, it shows we’re doing something right in terms of our service, the relaxed atmosphere and our food.

“We all thrive on making customers happy and we love giving people who visit an enjoyable experience. But we don’t want to stop there. We’re looking to push ourselves even further next year which we hope will tempt more people from outside the area into visiting the Hop Pole and Bewdley – a trend that has been really noticeable.

“Over the past 12 months the business has grown faster than expected but we’ve quickly found a winning combination which we hope the judges will see shining through.”

Daren added that the Hop Pole will be visited by a selection of mystery diners in the coming weeks. They will be scrutinising a number of food and customer service-related areas and then feed back to the judging panels.

Daren, Louise and the team will be attending both award ceremonies at the end of October where they will find out the judges’ decisions.

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