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Norfolk garden centre restaurant named best in England

PUBLISHED: 08:38 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:22 07 February 2019

Staff members at Thetford Garden Centre's Lime Kiln Kitchen are celebrating success in recent awards. Picture: Conor Matchett

Staff members at Thetford Garden Centre's Lime Kiln Kitchen are celebrating success in recent awards. Picture: Conor Matchett

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A Norfolk garden centre restaurant is celebrating being named the best in England after coming second in UK-wide awards.

Lime Kiln Kitchen in Thetford Garden Centre on Kilverstone Road came second behind the Welsh Fron Goch Garden Centre in the annual Garden Centre Association awards.

Catering manager Lisa Billman who has run the restaurant for seven years said she was proud to have been recognised and said it was the least her team deserved after the kitchen reopened following a refurbishment in November 2017.

She said: “We have been recognised for things like best cake and best coffee but as a restaurant we had a lot of things lacking and that was the whole atmosphere and it just needed some money.

“The owners didn’t want to do it shabbily so they waited and the plans have been in place for three years and they had interior designers come in and we were closed for five months before reopening.”

The restaurant also takes part in community outreach and alongside their love of quality food, the staff take pride in getting to know their regular customers.

Ms Billman said: “We have customers who come in for years with their partners and then they lose their partners and they come in on their own and we are their only port of call sometimes.

“If their family lives away we are the only ones they see so we know customers by name.”

The restaurant prides itself on its service and its teamwork despite the difficulty that can bring with staffing.

Ms Billman added: “I am just really pleased that our team has been recognised. We have been here and worked in that small kitchen for a long time and while the plans were being sorted it was like dangling a carrot.

“This is what I’ve been working for for seven years and it is the whole team, the whole team is brilliant, we are here bank holidays and we only close four days a year.

“People need to come, we cater for allergens, for price and for taste and the whole award is lovely for the directors to be noted for what they have injected into the business and for the team’s hard work and I think it is an asset for Thetford.”

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