Pubs across the area are vying for top honours in the Australian Hotels Association NSW Awards for Excellence.
Venues in Port Macquarie, Lake Cathie, Beechwood and Kew are among the finalists.
Settlers Inn joins 16 other venues across the state battling it out for the coveted Regional Hotel of the Year title, while Flower Hotels is vying for the Group Hotel Operator of the Year. Settlers Inn is also a finalist in other categories.
The Lake Cathie Tavern, Beechwood Hotel and Tacking Point Tavern, which are also part of the Flower Hotels' portfolio, are in the running for awards.
Flower Hotels director Alistair Flower said it was humbling to receive the finalist nominations.
"It is a testament to the amazing staff that we have and the hard work they have put in during what has been a challenging time for everybody, but in particular frontline hospitality workers," he said.
It is not just Flower Hotels' venues in line for the honours. Finnian's Irish Tavern and Royal Hotel Kew are also finalists.
Royal Hotel Kew co-owner Scott Coman said food was a big part of the hotel and the parmi was made from scratch from crumbing the chicken breast to making the sauce and cutting the ham off the bone.
"To get in a position where we are one of the finalists [for Best Parmi] is a reward for all the hard work the team has put in," he said.
Finnian's Irish Tavern general manager Corey Baker said the team was ecstatic at being a finalist in the Best Regional Local category.
"This award is very close to our heart, as we love our region and are so passionate about putting our little pub on the map," he said.
The independently-judged awards will be announced on Monday, October 24 in Sydney. Each category features a number of finalists.
AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said it was great to see a record number of finalists as an industry hard hit by COVID comes together to celebrate once more.
"The Awards for Excellence is the pinnacle of our events calendar and celebrates the hard work and achievements of those in our industry," Mr Whelan said.
"It's something we have not been able to do since 2019, so there has never been a better time to come together and recognise the resilience and innovation of our incredible industry."
Australian Hotels Association NSW Awards for Excellence local finalists
Heart of the Community
Best Regional Local
Best Retail Liquor Outlet
Best Regional Gaming Venue
Best Steak Sandwich
Best Regional Casual Dining (northern)
Group Hotel Operator of the Year
Regional Hotel of the Year
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