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Northern Daily leader

As good as it gets


Tim Muschamp, Hotel Manager, Jamie Rose, Graze Head Office and Charles Hanna, owner of the Willow Tree Inn at the Australian Hotels Association NSW Awards for Excellence where the Willow Tree Inn was announced as the ‘Best Country Restaurant’ in NSW. Photo courtesy of Australian Hotels Association NSW.

Sally Alden
The Willow Tree Inn has taken the culinary world by storm and it’s a success that just keeps growing. Charles and Cheryl Hanna credit the local customers and dedicated staff of both the ‘Colly Creek’ property and the Willow Tree Inn with the Inns’ outstanding success.

The owners, who purchased the Inn in 2009, have been hands on in the stunning renovation and quality expansion of the now highly regarded Inn. Charles was thrilled to accept one of hospitalities highest accolades, when the Inn was announced as the ‘Best Country Restaurant’ at the recent Australian Hotels Association NSW (AHA NSW) Awards for Excellence.

“It shows that we not only have the best steak in ‘Colly Creek’ Beef, but also a great menu overall, combined with professional service from our team in the kitchen, bar and restaurant and
our function reservation staff at head office. This award is truly strong praise and recognition of achievement from the Australian Hotels Association, our industry body,” said an elated Charles.

All Angus steaks and beef selections on the menu at Graze at the Willow Tree Inn come from cattle born and raised on the Hanna’s property ‘Colly Creek’, also located near Willow Tree, NSW.

Managed by Richard Noble and assisted by Roger Barnett, the property runs Black Angus cattle, from which they choose the 20 best steers each month exclusively for Graze restaurant and bistro and the function room.

“Each month management from both Colly Creek and Graze jointly taste-test our beef to ensure consistency of product week-in and week-out, which helps us achieve the highest quality possible,” continued Charles.

Charles and Cheryl say they and the team at Colly Creek and Graze are always looking to continually improve what they do and how they do it.

“The title of Best Country Restaurant means a lot us as everyone at Colly Creek and the Inn work hard every day, we aim to grow the best beef, produce the best meals all served with the ultimate in friendly country hospitality.”

There were a record 436 finalists across 40categories at the 21st annual AHA NSW Awards for Excellence, which are now recognised as the most prestigious awards in the hospitality industry and AHA NSW Chief Executive Officer John Whelan, commented the record number and high quality of entries in the Awards from right across NSW displayed the strength and vitality of the states hotel industry.

“The venues at the recent Awards represent the best and brightest in our industry. All have worked very hard to achieve excellence,” he said.

The awards honour the achievement of excellence in NSW hotels across a variety of segments including accommodation, dining, entertainment, marketing, training, community service and talented employees.

“Each year the competition gets tougher as the quality of the services and facilities continues to reach even higher standards throughout the industry. The awards increase public awareness of the hotel industry with winners and finalists demonstrating the best of what we are. There is no
doubt that hotels are well and truly at the heart of their local community,” continued John Whelan.

While the Willow Tree Inn now has another outstanding gong to add to its already long list of
achievements, it will soon have more to offer its patrons and local residents.

“We recently purchased the old General Store in Willow Tree and associated buildings across from the Inn with the aim of expanding our gardens and accommodation.”

Currently sitting vacant, next year Charles and Cheryl intend to renovate the old General Store cottage in a similar style to the Inn accommodation cottage and aim to beautify the area between the cottage and the store.

“We purchased the land and buildings in a desire to help to improve local business in Willow Tree.”

In addition to thanking the outstanding local staff and management, Charles and Cheryl also thanked their regular customers from the Liverpool Plains and beyond for continuing to support Graze Restaurant and the Willow Tree Inn.

“For the last two years, we’ve been delighted to have been recognised at the AHA NSW Awards for Excellence, as having the Best Steak of any hotel in NSW. But to win the Best Country Restaurant at the Awards this year, is about as good as it gets. We can’t thank enough
the local people who all contribute in their own way to help create the magic that is the Inn,” concluded Charles.

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