Pioneering Newcastle restaurant Harissa has been recognised as one of the best in the country – but it needs the help of the public to take the crown.

The social enterprise which only opened just over a year ago in Sandyford, has been shortlisted in The People’s Favourite category in the prestigious Food Made Good Awards 2017.

More than 500 eateries across the UK were nominated by the public for this year’s People’s Favourite accolade.

And Harrisa, with its healthier Middle Eastern and Mediterranean menu, commitment to using the  freshest, locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, and paying its staff a living wage, has made it into the final four.

The champion will be announced at a ceremony in London on October 5 – but the final decision on who takes the top People’s Favourite spot is in the public’s hands.

Now, a rallying cry has been issued by the man behind Harissa, for North Easterners to pledge their support for the trailblazing restaurant.

Jamie Sadler said: “It is an amazing achievement to have been nominated for The People’s Favourite Award just over a year after opening. We are the only establishment outside the South East to have been shortlisted, and it’s a real vote of confidence to be in the frame for such a major award.

“We are delighted that people really enjoy eating at Harissa and that they support not only our good food ethos, but our commitment to ensuring our staff’s wellbeng is looked after, and our desire to reinvest in the area.

“It would be fantastic if North East people could now come together to get behind us and vote for us in The People’s Favourite Award.

“Winning would give us an absolutely massive boost as well as renewed confidence in what we set out to do – to establish a flagship restaurant carrying out the good food ethos.”

Votes can be cast until August 31 by visiting the Delcious Magazine’s website at www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/stories/sustainable-eating/

The shortlist, which also features Lucky Beach in Brighton, Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond-upon-Thames, and The Gate in London; was chosen by judges – who included eco chef, food waste activist and author Tom Hunt – from nominations submitted to the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which runs the Food Made Good Awards.

The finalists were all selected for the postive impact they make on their local communities, the environment, and diners’ stomachs.

Harissa invests profits back into the community via its sister organisation, Food Nation, which is also headed up by Mr Sadler.

Based in Byker, Food Nation works with schools, businesses and individuals in the Newcastle, Gateshead and surrounding area, to help them make better and healthier food choices through a range of innovative education activities.

Mr Sadler said: “The North East is an amazing place with great restaurants, great local produce, and great people. Now it is time for the rest of the UK to discover the remarkable things that are going on up here on the socially aware food front.

“Winning will not only be a boost for Harissa and Food Nation, but the local economy and the wider region.

“So please get behind us and vote.”

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