The Fork in the Road is celebrating hitting Tripadvisor’s number one spot among Middlesbrough eateries just six months after opening.
Thanks to hugely positive ratings and reviews by customers, our charity-led restaurant has topped the online review website’s list of 279 Middlesbrough restaurants and food outlets – with 96% rating The Fork in the Road as either “excellent” or “very good”.
Andy Preston, who is the driving force behind the restaurant as chairman of charity CEO Sleepout, said that being rated number one on Tripadvisor felt “fantastic”.
He said: “There’s been an incredible effort by everyone behind the scenes in terms of marketing, creating a place that looks great, creating a fantastic atmosphere and serving great food in a friendly but professional manner. This accolade is a credit to all of them.
“We’re incredibly proud to be changing lives whilst serving awesome food. We set out to be the best restaurant on Teesside and serving fantastic food is naturally a big part of that.
“But I think our positive reviews reflect the overall impact of the restaurant, not just the great food. It’s about the service, the atmosphere, décor and, of course, our USP that we are creating training and employment opportunities that are giving people a chance to change their lives.
“For Tripadvisor’s system to take into account all the reviews of 279 restaurants and food outlets across the town and rank us highest just feels fantastic. It’s all about opinions, of course, but we couldn’t be prouder that our customers have gone out of their way to give us such fantastic reviews and ratings.
“People are going home having had such a good time at The Fork in the Road that they want to tell others just how good it is.
“We’ve quickly become part of the fabric of the town. People like what we do and what we stand for – and they travel from miles around to visit us, from places such as Darlington and Hartlepool.
“We’re attracting people into the centre of Middlesbrough in a way that’s helping the town to compete for the first time with Teesside’s recent night-time hot spot of Yarm High Street.”
Andy, who is also chair of charity Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, added: “When you’re setting up any kind of new business, you have to seek to win some business from others – and to do that you have to do things better than they do.
“Without being disrespectful to others, I think we’re doing that. The food is always our primary concern, of course, but we’re constantly striving to be the very best at all aspects of running a restaurant.
“We’ve also set out to meet the budget of any food lovers – whether they’re looking to have brunch for a fiver or enjoy a sumptuous meal and the world’s best wines for £100.”
Staff at the restaurant, which is based in a building that was once home to popular toy store Romer Parrish, have also worked hard to retain a local feel whenever possible.
Music from Cattle and Cane was played throughout the weekend when the popular local band launched their new album, while The Fork in the Road recently played host to guests taking part in World Knitting Day.
Backed by Middlesbrough-based national charity CEO Sleepout, the restaurant is run by experienced catering professionals who mentor trainees including ex-offenders, those in recovery from addiction and the long-term unemployed.
The unique restaurant also helps to fund Bar Zero, a dry bar situated upstairs that provides an important social facility for Teesside’s recovery community.
Along with money from CEO Sleepout, The Fork in the Road and upstairs Bar Zero project gained funding from Public Health England, input charity Recovery Connections and Middlesbrough Council’s Public Health Department.
See what people say about The Fork in the Road by visiting Tripadvisor here: