Restaurant tastes online award success

Owner Andy Clarke (left) and Head Chef Chris Wells seen at The Junction Restaurant at Grangemoor Road, Widdrington Station, which has won praise on internet site TripAdvisor.
Owner Andy Clarke (left) and Head Chef Chris Wells seen at The Junction Restaurant at Grangemoor Road, Widdrington Station, which has won praise on internet site TripAdvisor.

A VILLAGE eatery’s high-quality food policy has paid off with some online recognition.

The Junction Restaurant in Widdrington Station was opened in November 2011 by local resident Andrew Clarke, with support from his wife Debbie. Since then it has steadily built up its customer base and the business has received some rave reviews.

The praise has been particularly strong on the well-known website TripAdvisor, where people can post their opinions on restaurants, hotels and other food and leisure facilities.

After getting five stars for the majority of its 90 ratings so far – a few three stars is the lowest it has received – The Junction Restaurant has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence. This is given to select firms which have consistently good feedback.

Mr Clarke said: “We had not been involved in the food industry for many years, so we decided to have a change of lifestyle.

“Another big factor was that there was no pub or restaurant in Widdrington Station as the Willows had closed a few months before we arrived in the village, which meant there was a gap in the market.

“It took us a year to get everything in place and go through the planning process, but we were determined to establish the business and in the end we managed to swiftly overcome what turned out to be just minor concerns.

“We decided to go for a good-quality food offering and although our prices are not expensive, they could not be considered cheap either.

“But this approach has gone down very well with customers.

“Our head chef, Chris Wells, has been fantastic and the other staff are very welcoming and do all they can to make sure those coming along have the best night possible. There is a family feel among everyone.

“When the TripAdvisor reviews went into double figures, we were delighted to see that our customers loved eating here. Even though we put such a big effort in customer service and the food is excellent, we never thought the feedback would be so positive.

“We’re starting to get some tourist trade, which will help us to progress, but we will continue to focus on keeping our local customers happy as they are the ones who will come along at all times of year.”

The restaurant, which has eight part-time staff as well as Mr Clarke and Mr Wells, provides a variety of bistro and grill dishes using locally-sourced ingredients.

It is located on Grangemoor Road.