If you're a budding screenwriter you aim for an Oscar, if you're an aspiring tennis star your sights are set on Wimbledon, and if you're a cafe, pub or restaurant in Queensland, chances are you dream of claiming a title in the Restaurant & Caterers Australia Awards.
And that prestigious accolade is exactly what a local Townsville foodie has just achieved.
The Lavaracks Restaurant at the Townsville RSL has won the Best Restaurant in a Pub, Club or Tavern category at the nationally recognised awards for 2018, putting Townsville on the map as a must-visit foodie destination.
More than 150 restaurants, cafes and catering businesses from across the state went head-to-head over 37 categories judged by consumers who ranked what is important to them while eating out.
So how did this Townsville favourite take out the top gong in such a competitive category?
Not only with their award winning food, but through customer service and overall dining experience.
The catch is finalists don't even know when or how they are being judged. An anonymous taste-tester and independent team of restaurant connoisseurs are swooped in undercover to sample meals off-guard.
From duck maryland slow cooked with red cabbage, bacon and hazelnuts to lamb shoulder regu homemade strigoli with pecorino and chocolate salami with vincotto, biscotti and raspberry sorbet, this creative and inventive menu is five-star fine dining at RSL prices... and seriously impressed the judges!
“Townsville RSL should be proud of their achievements. Running a hospitality business isn’t easy – there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into to making it work. But when you get the right mix of staff, produce and service, the results can be extraordinary.”
- R&CA CEO Juliana Payne says.
The praise doesn't stop there. Their national spotlight could soon get brighter later this month when they'll be advised if they are to compete with other region finalists at the National Australia Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence in Sydney late October.
With a certificate of excellence on Trip Advisor and now this new hot title under their belt, the not-so-hidden gem is getting better and better with the release of their new menu earlier this year that is blowing the minds of locals and the nation alike.
And while the little local secret that is Lavaracks may be out of the bag, the humble team will forever be a Townsville favourite.
If you haven't already taken a visit, bookings are essential.
Lavaracks is open for dinner Tuesday - Saturday and Friday lunch at Townsville RSL, 139 Charters Towers Rd, Hermit Park.