08:00 Friday 28 September 2012

Town's 'best-kept secret' makes food bible again

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

A FAMILY-RUN town centre restaurant is continuing to go from strength to strength after being named among the UK’s best eateries for the fourth consecutive year.

99 Station Street owner Daniel Pilkington
99 Station Street owner Daniel Pilkington

The award-winning 99 Station Street has been named in this year’s The Good Food Guide, an annual list of the best places to eat in the country.

It was the only restaurant from East Staffordshire to feature in the guide, in what was the latest accolade for the flourishing venue, which opened just four years ago.

Owner Daniel Pilkington bought the restaurant last year after working under previous owner Ross Boardman and has wasted no time in carrying on its success.

The venue employs no staff, with Mr Pilkington’s wife and some friends offering a hand.

The eatery has attracted much national recognition, being named among the top 150 restaurants in the country by The Daily Telegraph and even receiving a request to appear on Gordon Ramsay’s Channel Four show ‘The F Word’.

To qualify for an appearance in The Good Food Guide, a restaurant is reviewed anonymously after being recommended by a customer.

Mr Pilkington admitted he was overwhelmed with the recognition and said it was difficult to explain why it stood out from the crowd.

He said: “It’s amazing. It gives you a massive boost to know that people like what you do.

“I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the fact that the meat is second to none, as it’s locally sourced from Abbots Bromley. I can’t really blow my own trumpet and say I’m amazing.

“The guys that work with me help to make it a nice place. It’s not too formal — we’ve got the whole package.”

Mr Pilkington, 39, was born in Stapenhill and has vast experience in the food industry, even working in a restaurant in Switzerland at one point.

After returning to his birthplace, he jumped at the chance to take control of 99 Station Street when its former owner announced it was up for sale.

He said: “So much work and effort had gone into the restaurant to make it a success, with all the awards won.

“After all that hard work we didn’t want people to lose out.”

Mr Pilkington said he was proud of how far the restaurant had come in such a short space of time.

He added: “It’s nice. You wouldn’t think anybody would know about a little 40- seater restaurant like us.

“I think we’re the best-kept secret in Burton. To be the only one in the area to get it four years on the trot is amazing. I’m very proud.”

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