Business award for curry king Akbar's
We're hot stuff! A Middlesbrough-based restaurant is celebrating after serving up a hat-trick of awards.
Akbar's were the proud recipients of the Business of the Year prize at the second Tees Valley BME Achievement Awards, acknowledging the contribution and talents of the black and minority ethnic community.
Presented in front of more than 300 guests at a prestigious ceremony at the Thistle Hotel in Middlesbrough, the award recognised the Indian restaurant's outstanding contribution to the local economy.
The BME award capped a tremendous period for the restaurant, as Akbar's was also recently voted 'King of Curry' in the 2011 English Curry Awards, while chief executive Shabir Hussain received the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Pakistani Achievement Awards.
Part of a restaurant chain owned by Mr Hussain, the 200-seat Middlesbrough branch of Akbar's has gone from strength to strength since opening on Linthorpe Road just two years ago.
It now claims to be the most successful restaurant in the Tees Valley, employing more than 50 local people and setting ever higher standards for the quality and consistency of its tasty food.
And it has achieved a five-star rating for excellent standards in the Tees Valley Food Hygiene Awards every since its opening.
Adil Ditta of Akbar,s said: "Winning the BME Business of the Year Award is a fantastic achievement for such a young restaurant and great recognition for the hard work the management and staff have put into the business.
"All of the other Akbar's restaurants are in major cities so Shabir Hussain took a bit of a risk when he listened to some gentle persuasion and agreed to open one in Middlesbrough.
"But the risk has paid off. Going for a curry is something of a tradition on Teesside and I think the area needed something like Akbar's. We have been busy ever since we opened.
"We pride ourselves on being the place to be - offering a great atmosphere, consistently outstanding food and, crucially in today's financial climate, excellent value for money.
"We're also proud to employ in excess of 50 local people, the vast majority of them born and bred on Teesside. We pride ourselves in investing in the area and offering our customers a truly memorable experience."
BME Network partnership manager Idrees Rashid said: "Akbar's were worthy winners of the award because they are achieving success in a very difficult economic environment.
"We were impressed with the fact that not only are they providing jobs for many people from the local ethnic community but are helping to put Pakistani food on the map in the north-east."
The Akbar's chain also features restaurants in Newcastle, York, Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, with a first move into London planned in the near future.