AFTER a year like no other for the hospitality sector, an Albury restaurant is taking solace in a prestigious statewide award.
Indian Tandoori Restaurant claimed the award for Indian/Subcontinent Restaurant, NSW Regional in the Restaurant and Catering Association Awards for Excellence recently.
Indian Tandoori Restaurant co-owner Manraj Bhullar said it was a welcome result after a tough year for the sector amid the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Bhullar said the business had endured the national lockdown followed by the border closure.
"It has been a tough year for restaurants since March," he said.
"This award is a credit to our staff who are the backbone of everything we do."
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Together with his wife Naziya, Mr Bhullar opened Indian Tandoori Restaurant in Dean Street in 1998.
Specialising in north Indian cuisine, the restaurant introduced Sunday buffets to feature south Indian cuisine about a decade ago.
Mr Bhullar said the popular buffets were on hold amid coronavirus restrictions.
"We hope to introduce them again when the restrictions are over," Mr Bhullar said.
"We'd like to thank the people of Albury and Wodonga who supported us.
"Once the border closed we really struggled between the 8th of July and 23rd of October.
"We didn't know we had such a strong customer base from Wodonga; once the border reopened we could see the difference.
"We have only just returned to offering lunches.
"We are grateful we had an understanding landlord and for Albury City's support."
Together with Indian Tandoori Restaurant, Albury eateries The River Deck and Taco Bill took out awards in their respective categories.
South Albury venture The River Deck claimed the prestigious award for Best Breakfast Restaurant, NSW Regional.
Long-running Albury restaurant Taco Bill gained an honourable mention in the Mexican Restaurant category.
The Restaurant and Catering Association awards have 280 independent judges nationwide.