IT TOOK eight years of hard work but this week it all paid off for Harvest Cafe Newrybar when it was awarded a prestigious Hat in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
Harvest owners Brooke Hudson and Kassia and Tristan Grier were "doing back flips" in excitement at winning the highest accolade an Australian restaurant can receive, Mr Grier said. "A Hat is the Australian equivalent to a prestigious European Michelin Star," Mr Grier said.
The trio bought the cafe in 2007 and have transformed it into a destination restaurant, extending to night trading, adding a bar, deli and bakery and hosting events.
"People will travel to Newrybar especially to dine at Harvest; they design their whole journey around it," Mr Grier said.
"It's not only the food, but the history and story that we deliver."
The Harvest hospitality story goes back over a century, with the large oven in the bakery 103 years old.
"Because the oven is so large, the community used to hold communal cooking events here," he said.
"We have drawn on that history and hold events in the bakery space, such as whisky-tasting, Mexican and Italian nights."
To win the Hat, Harvest had to pass the grade with two separate, anonymous restaurant reviewers.
Mr Grier said the cafe's local and sustainable approach was key to its success. "We have an organic garden on the property and we have two more organic farms we source our produce from, and we bake onsite and dry-age our own meet and cheeses."
Despite winning the Hat, Harvest was still local at heart, he said.
"We are still a friendly country cafe - but we offer a world-class product."