The awards keep coming for a local restaurant.
Last week, Harry’s Shack, located on Portstewart Strand, was named ‘Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland’.
Opened by Donal Doherty and chef Derek Creagh - the duo behind Harry’s Restaurant in Bridgend, just over the border, locals and visitors have been flocking to the beach hut style restaurant.
Announcing the news of another award on social media, chef Donal Doherty said: “Very honoured to be included in these awards.”
He went on to pay tribute to his hard working team: “Voted by 150 of the best chefs and food writers in the UK.
“I personally think more Northern Ireland restaurants deserve to be included, and be higher up the list than there are.
“But to everyone who had faith, and helps me day in and day out in this Beach Shack, a huge thank you.
“This is a great honour for us, and can’t be done without a great team.”
Speaking from his busy restaurant on Friday Donal told The Times about his meeting with celebrity chef Rick Stein, and how he hopes to cook for him soon!
“We were invited to London as were voted in the top 100 restaurants in the UK.
“It turns out we’re ranked 86th, the highest in Northern Ireland, so that’s how we got the ‘Best in Northern Ireland’ award,” he explained.
Last week, the restaurant was listed as number ten in the Times newspaper as best “wild place to eat” in the whole of the UK.
Donal went on: “I had no idea that there were so many awards, but we’ll take them,” he joked.
“It’s really nice to be recognised, and we are very proud.”
At the London ceremony Donal met well known television chef Rick Stein.
He is now hoping that the chef will visit Portstewart the next time he is in Northern Ireland.
“Rick actually came over to me and asked my about the restaurant.
“He was really interested in where we source from, what kind of fish we use, and asked about other ingredients.
“Surprisingly he knows the area well, having visited the North Coast during an educational visit to the old Portrush Catering College.
“I invited him to Harry’s Shack, so you never know, he might come and visit,” said Donal. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
And Rick wasn’t the only chef interested in the local restaurant.
Back in February, the restaurant received a glowing review from food critic, Jay Rayner.
Writing in The Observer, Rayner - probably best known as an occasional critic on Masterchef - lavished praise on the Strand Beach restaurant.
After just ten months in business, Harry’s Shack is regularly named in newspapers and magazines as a ‘great place to eat’.
Donal went on: “We know we are good at what we do, we know that from our other restaurants, but I think it’s the location that really counts here.
“We produce good food, locally sourced within a fabulous location, that’s it put simply.
“We’ve been here ten/eleven months, and this is our first summer season, it’s going great.
“I just hope that people keep supporting us,” he concluded.