EXPANDING their accommodation business into the food industry has proved to be a winning move for Secrets on the Lake owners Aldy and George Johnston.
After opening Secrets Cafe and Deck in January alongside their accommodation business in Montville, the Johnstons were named the winners of the Range Restaurant Awards at the recent Real Food Festival.
Diners marked restaurants on ambience, service, quality of food and value for money.
Chamber of Commerce member Christine Kardash, who helped organise the competition, said Secrets Cafe and Deck was highly regarded across every facet.
"The chamber saw the competition as a way of recognising the great restaurants in Montville, through promotions and advertising,'' Ms Kardash said.
"We look forward to doing it again next year."
Mrs Johnston said the title of best restaurant came completely out of the blue.
"This will really boost our business and give our staff more work as more visitors come in," she said.
"If you run a business you've got to move forward all the time.
"We opened the cafe and Deck as a way of moving our business forward, and it's been great."
Mrs Johnston said Secrets Cafe and Deck had a point of difference.
"Everything here is made here, and a lot of our meals are made from my recipes.
"We can generally cater a lot to people's nutritional needs."
Mrs Johnston said the success of the Cafe and Deck would not have been possible without Lee Lucas from Lucas Parklands, Julie Roser, who was crucial in helping manage the business, and head Chef Philip Conda.
Other restaurants involved in the competition included Wild Rocket @ Misty's, Montville Cafe Bar and Grill, Wendy's Cafe Delish, Elements at Montville, Pomodora's on Obi, The Long Apron at Spicer's Clovelly Estate, Shali's Cafe, and Montville Coffee Pot.