Top 50 Gastropubs: Spectacular rise of The Parkers Arms in Ribble Valley to become second best in the UK

The team at one of Lancashire's most celebrated dining pubs has had much to celebrate this week after being named the nation's second best gastropub and the best in the north.

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 12:59 pm

Fresh from their success at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs awards held at Manchester's Freight Island Stosie Madi, chef and co-proprietor of The Parkers Arms in Newton in Bowland has revealed her special pride in flying the flag for the north west of England.

This week the Ribble Valley pub won second place in the prestigious Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs awards.

Stosie, who runs the pub, which is also much praised for its "idyllic" location, with business partner Kathy Smith, said: "We're exceedingly proud. To be placed number two in the country in the top 50 gastropubs and number one in the north is wonderful."

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Kathy Smith and Stosie Madi (pictured left, and right) at the awards ceremony in Manchester

She said it was the first time the awards had been held up north and continued: "We are proud once again to help promote the Ribble Valley and Lancashire as a gastronomic hot-spot. This is our eighth year (in the awards) and we could not have wished for a better result. A great reward for our hard working team and an honour to represent Lancashire."

It has been a spectacular rise up the ranks for the couple who had been in the top ten for two years, coming fourth last year and seventh in 2020. To rise to second place was, said Stosie, "a wonderful surprise" adding: "We are hands on in the day to day running of the business so for our guests it's like coming home, always a familiar face. Most of all we celebrate Lancashire's produce, seasonality and our surroundings with largesse on a plate. We give top notch quality gastronomy for unbelievable value."

She said, as a female run business, in a male dominated industry, they were also very proud of their achievement. Now Stosie and Kathy are planning a special celebration meal with champagne at The Parkers Arms for all their staff. Stosie said the staff dine together daily anyway, but this time they'd be having a champagne toast. She said: "We eat together as a family every day. We always celebrate at the end of the week what we've done. We'll have a wonderful meal and be opening a bottle of bubbles to celebrate."

The Top 50 Gastropubs list is now in its 13th year. It ranks the UK’s best gastropubs according to the votes from more than 400 food critics and writers, gastropub chefs and other food influencers. Pub trade magazine The Morning Advertiser brings out the list with headline partner beer company Estrella Damm.

Stosie Madi and Kathy Smith pictured receiving their award with awards MC Angellica Bell and James Healey of Estrella Damm

Top 50 Gastropubs publisher Chris Lowe said: “After a tough two years for the hospitality industry, we are thrilled to see such a strong list of contenders this year, including a new number one and several new entrants. The Top 50 Gastropubs provides a platform for food-lovers to explore the very best offerings across the UK. We are delighted to host this year’s event in Manchester for the first time, highlighting the range of talent across the UK."

The award for The Parkers Arms follows widespread industry and national recognition over the past decade. It has featured in the Top 100 restaurants list, the Good Food Guide and Harden's aand AA pub guides as well as being a Taste Lancashire and Visit England winner.

* The Unruly Pig at Woodbridge Four was the top gastropub in the Estrella Damms Top 50 list. But the next four spots were all taken by northern businesses and Lancashire triumphed again with The Freemasons at Wiswell coming fifth.

Meanwhile The White Swan at Fence came 26th and The Higher Buck at Waddington, again in Ribble Valley, was 39th. The Cartford Inn near Great Eccleston came 68th.

The Parkers Arms at Newton in Bowland

The awards website notes of The Parkers Arms: "Now the site sits in second place, making a strong and steady bid for the top spot. What a stunning performance."

Stosie added: "The thing is when you get to number two you can only aspire to be number one can't you...if that happens it's a wonderful bonus. We always do what we can to adjust and innovate and make it even better. If that can lead us to number one that would be wonderful."

For more on the awards see hereFor more on Lancashire's food offer see here and here

Award winning chef and pub co-proprietor Stosie Madi