HUNDREDS of votes are flooding in as Sussex residents choose their favourite restaurants, pubs and cafes and butchers in this year’s Food and Drink Awards.

24 venues across the sector in Sussex are up for nomination over eight different categories; pub, butchers and delis, fish and chips, cafe and coffee shop, fine dining, European, Indian cuisine, and vegan and vegetarian.

Among those nominated is T @ the Dials in Dyke Road in Brighton, which is shortlisted in the vegan and vegetarian category. Co-owner Anthony Boon said that being nominated was completely unexpected, as they had only been open for 18 months.

“We cannot believe it. The amount of people who have come in to say we’re going to vote for you has been breathtaking.

“To win would be phenomenal and be a justification of why we did this in the first place. The community here has been brilliant - we opened two weeks before lockdown and the support we’ve had has been amazing. It would be a great win for the community, not just for us.”

In contention for the prestigious title of best cafe and coffee shop in Sussex is @Avabetsy in Portland Road in Hove, run by Martina Packham and her daughter Briony.

Martina said they were overjoyed at the news they had made the shortlist.

She said: “We were so happy - we were jumping up and down.

“Winning would mean so much to Briony and I - it wouldn’t just be for us but it would also be for the people around here as well. It would be wonderful and it would feel like we’ve achieved something coming out of the last 18 months.

“We love all the people that come in and we’re really grateful that people have actually voted for us. Some people are actually coming in with the envelopes with the stamp on and saying we’re bringing them in so you know we voted for you.”

In the fine dining category, there is a closely fought battle between three restaurants in the heart of The Lanes in Brighton. One of those vying for the title is Terre a Terre in East Street, whose owners Amanda Powley and Philip Taylor are thrilled by their nomination in the final.

“We’re delighted and it’s lovely to be supported by the local community - as always,” they said.

As a seaside resort, Brighton and Hove is of course known for its fish and chips, so the competition to win the title of the best fish and chip outlet in Sussex is a fierce one.

Family-run Wolfies of Hove in Goldstone Villas, Hove, is one of those hoping to win, with manager Yaffile Mouhil saying a win would mean a lot and would allow the business to continue to grow.

Also in the running for the same category is Athena B in Station Road in Portslade, run by mother-son duo Mary Goznan and Matthew Konen.

Matthew, who has been peeling potatoes since he was eight, said: “It would mean the world to get recognised for all the hard work me and my mum are doing and, of course, the team we have as well.”

If you want to cast your vote and recognise your local for going above and beyond for customers, make sure to pick up a copy of The Argus by October 22 to grab your voting form. The deadline for forms is October 31, so get your votes in fast to support your local businesses.

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