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The Best Northern Operators

In Association with

Is delighted to support the NRB Top 50 Specialist lawyers to the licensed trade ‡Licensing ‡Corporate ‡Commercial ‡Employment ‡Commercial Property ‡Intellectual Property ‡Tax For more information contact Anthony Lyons on +44 (0)161 832 3434 or email

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The Best Northern Operators

WELCOME Welcome to the second NRB Top 50, the prestigious and much anticipated list highlighting the most important and influential individuals within the Northern hospitality industry. This has been a year of significant developments, with plenty of expansion and a plethora of new concepts and ambitious plans from the sharpest operators. We are grateful to The Russell Partnership – the world-leading hospitality industry – for their help in the tough job of research and judging We are delighted this year to be working in association with Kuits, the licensing solicitors, and to also have Berkeley Scott, Matthew Clark and Hallgarten Druitt as sponsors. Another new development for this year is the creation of three special achievement awards. These recognise exceptional commercial and critical success, and efforts for the greater good of the industry, meaning the winners are standard bearers for what can be achieved within our region. To those included in this prestigious list I say congratulations, and to the judges and generous sponsors I say a heartfelt thank you for your time and support. Enjoy the reception, take the time to explore Northern Restaurant and Bar – the largest hospitality exhibition in the North – and we hope to see you all, after another successful year, in March 2014.

Thom Hetherington Managing Director Northern Restaurant and Bar

THE NRB TOP 50 TEAM WOULD LIKE TO THANK In Association with Kuits Solicitors

Kuits Solicitors is the leading commercial law firm for the leisure and licensed trade sectors advising a wide range of operators throughout the UK on their licensing, commercial, employment, property and taxation issues. We are commercially focussed trusted advisors who will work with you to help grow your business.

Sponsored by Berkeley Scott

In Partnership With The Russell Partnership

Berkeley Scott is a pioneer in Hotels, Hospitality and Catering recruitment. With over 28 years’ experience of introducing high quality talent into well known brands, no other recruitment consultancy has similar longevity, expertise or insight into this sector. With a network of Berkeley Scott offices nationwide, we’re able assist clients and candidates across the UK, no matter where you’re based.

The Russell Partnership is a strategic consultancy specialising in Catering, Conferencing, Events and Leisure markets, to deliver bespoke strategies, market and customer insight, creative design solutions, operational implementation and commercially viable results. The Partnership’s 24 years’ experience as well as their innovative and agile approach have earned them global recognition and an impressive client portfolio.

Supported by

Hosted by Northern Restaurant Bar has been established for thirteen years and is the largest hospitality trade show in the North of England. Taking place at Manchester Central every Spring the exhibition has two hundred exhibitors, over fifty demos and tastings and has become the ‘must see’ event for over 6,000 operators from restaurants, bars, hotels and pubs across the North of England.


The Best Northern Operators

Martin Ainscough

Tim Bacon

Co-owner Ainscough Restaurants

Managing Director Living Ventures

Martin started Ainscough restaurants with sister Helen 17 years ago. The group now consists of five country food pubs and two restaurants with rooms in Liverpool and Windermere.

Jeremy Roberts

Paul Askew Chef Patron The London Carriageworks Paul is chef patron of The London Carriageworks in Liverpool. He is also Chairman of the Tourism Business Network, specifically as Food Tourism champion as well as a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts and Merseyside Patron for the North West Fine Foods.

Mohammed Aslam

Commercial Director Living Ventures

Tim and Jeremy launched Living Ventures 1999 and now have 26 sites employing over 1000 people with brands including recent openings Australasia, The Alchemist and The Oast House.

Craig Bancroft Joint MD Northcote Manor

Nigel Haworth


Owner, Aagrah Group of Restaurants Mohammed Aslam, Managing Director and Executive Chef of the Aagrah Group of Restaurants, was honoured with an MBE in recognition for his services to the hospitality industry in 2010. Aagrah is made up of 15 restaurants across Yorkshire.

Chef Patron Northcote Manor

Craig took up the challenge of making Northcote Manor one of the most reputable hotel restaurants in the North West and was joined by Nigel Haworth. The combination of improved service and quality wine list helped them gain the restaurant’s Michelin star in 1996. Ribble Valley Inns is the latest addition to the Northcote Group with four dining pubs. In 1984 Nigel began as Head Chef at Northcote Manor and in 1989 became joint Managing Director. Nigel was awarded Michelin Star in 1996 and successfully retained to this day.


Jonathan Barker

Tessa Bramley

Joint Managing Director Mitchells of Lancaster

Chef Patron The Old Vicarage

Established in 1871, Mitchell’s of Lancaster (Brewers) is a family run pub and hotel company based around Lancashire and Cumbria. The company was passed to Jonathan Barker in 2008, who continues to retain the family traditions of running good quality establishments.

Simon Berry

Tessa Bramley, owner and chef of The Old Vicarage was awarded a coveted Michelin Star for 1998 and has maintained this great honour every year since then. She is also a long standing fellow of the “Master Chefs of Great Britain”. After being named “newcomer of the year” by The Good Food Guide on opening in 1987, The Old Vicarage under Tessa's guidance has been a fixture in the top 40 restaurants in the UK in the guide ever since.

Managing Director English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues

Andrew Buchanan

Tim Berry Director English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues Simon and Tim have developed their family business to an enviable position of one of the best hotel and leisure groups in the North West of England. English Lakes have five very individual 4 star properties that all occupy excellent locations, including on the shores of Windermere, an iconic art deco building overlooking Morecambe Bay or close to the historic City of Lancaster. Last year the Berry family celebrated 60 years in the hotel industry since Simon and Tim’s great uncle bought Low Wood in 1952. The development over the last three decades of the Watersports centre, conference centre, leisure club and recently the marina at Low Wood Bay has been overseen by Simon and Tim.

Operations Director Daniel Thwaites

Operations director for Lancashire-based brewer Thwaites since 2008, Andrew is responsible for ensuring the successful running of over 340 tenanted pubs. Prior to being appointed by the family-owned brewer, Andrew was the managing director of La Tasca and operations director at both Spirit and Scottish and Newcastle Retail.

Ken Buckley Managing Director Bravo Inns Ltd

Ken is a pub industry ‘lifer’ having spent 35 years in the industry ending as a Director with Greenalls Group Plc. Bravo Inns was formed in 2007 and has 27 pubs and continues to expand at approximately seven acquisitions per year.

The Best Northern Operators

Marie Carter

Morgan Davies

Owner Beautiful Drinks

Co-Owner Barburrito

Beau Myers Owner Beautiful Drinks

Beau describes himself as a cocktail maverick and underground boozey trendsetter, whilst Marie is the business-minded, astute and some would say sane side of Beautiful Drinks. Together they own Socio Rehab, Keko Moku, Home Sweet Home and Almost Famous which has received glowing reviews in the national press and become a twitter phenomenon. With Socio Rehab recently reopened as Cali-Tex-Mex joint Luck Lust Liquor & Burn they are currently developing new offerings in both Manchester and Liverpool.

James Crawfurd Porter Managing Director Tadcaster Pub Company James started with Commer Inns in 1993 and was appointed a Director in 1996, and Managing Director in 1999. After the sale of Commer Inns in 2001James went into partnership with Jim Walsh to launch Tadcaster Pub Company.

Lynne D’Arcy Managing Director Trust Inns Ltd

In 2010 Lynne left Admiral Taverns to become Managing Director with Trust Inns to oversee 462 pubs, She also chairs CBI North West.

Following the success of Globe Delivery (a multicuisine take-away service), co-founded Barburrito, the UK’s first burrito bar, with business partner Paul Kilpatrick in 2005. Having expanded to six sites across the north-west, they are planning to launch in London this year and continue with the company’s mission to be the most loved burrito brand on the planet. The UK burrito sector is taking off and, with a passion for great value, healthy food, excellent service and cool restaurants, Barburrito is well placed to lead the way.

Carlo Distefano Chairman San Carlo Group (on the left)

Marcello Distefano Managing Director San Carlo Group

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD This multi-award winning, family-owned and run restaurant group started in 1992 when Carlo Distefano opened his first San Carlo restaurant in Birmingham. Since then, the reputation and presence of San Carlo has grown and now boasts high profile, multi-award winning San Carlo, Cicchetti, Signor Sassi and Fumo restaurants in Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Roundhay, Leicester, Liverpool and London. With Carlo and son Marcello at the helm, the company’s expansion has gained momentum in the last few years with Cicchetti London marking its fourth opening since the start of 2011. There are currently three Signor Sassi restaurants in the Middle East and one in Bangkok. Selected by the judges for the staggering success of San Carlo’s restaurants in the North and latterly in London and the Middle East. A Manchester success story exported around the world.


Sarah Dunning

Mal Evans

Chief Executive Westmorland Ltd

Owner Mojo Bars

Sarah is Chief Executive of Westmorland Limited in Cumbria, which runs Tebay Services and the Rheged Centre. Westmorland differentiates itself by emphasising its strong Cumbrian connections. Sarah was appointed Chief Executive in 2005, and on behalf of the company won the Institute of Directors’ Award for Brtiain’s Best Family Business in 2010.

Legendary bar operator Mal Evans; celebrating over 25 years in the industry with the MOJO bars still holding the prestigious CLASSAwards Best of the Best and Best Good Time Awards. As RadioMOJO gathers momentum, attracting worldwide listeners as well as local requests for partnerships; and an expanding family – this is a genuinely exciting time for one of the nicest men in the industry.

Roy Ellis CEO & Director Inventive Leisure

Neil Macleod Director Inventive Leisure

Roy and business partner Neil Macleod founded Inventive Leisure in 1991. A specialist bar and nightclub operator whose unique selling point lies in the wide range of vodkas offered through its Revolution-branded bars.

Cleo Farman Owner Odd Bar

Cleo set up Odd Bar 7 years ago and has since completed the trilogy with the successful Odder & Oddest bars situated on Oxford Road and in Chorlton. Last year saw the extension of the original Odd Bar into a larger two floor venue, along with a complete refurbishment of Odder Bar on Oxford Road which now boasts the thriving club ‘The Function Room’ upstairs. Cleo opened The ever so Parisien Blue Pig last year to widespread critical acclaim.

Ged Feltham Managing Director Leelex

Ged Feltham, founder/owner of Leelex Ltd, was one of the first to blaze the trail for the independent bar scene in Leeds, opening up the now legendary Oporto 16 years ago. This was followed by Jake’s Bar, Neon Cactus, Hummingbird Kitchen and Bar, all in Leeds, and Portobello Star in London. The recent launch of Portobello Road No.171Gin has expanded the portfolio and the opening of Cielo secures Ged’s place as one of the most innovative food and drink entrepreneurs in the UK.

The Best Northern Operators

Jobe Ferguson

Anthony Flinn

Director Black Dog

Chef Patron Anthony’s Restaurant

Ross Mckenzie Director Black Dog

The Black Dog Ballroom brand has become a main stay of the Northern Quarter since opening. The New York Style speakeasy, diner and pool room concept is a brand new concept for the city and has offered a new experience for people wanting a night out. The Liars Club is a whole new experience – a Tiki Dive Bar and Caribbean Rum Shop near the busy Spinningfields development. It has been a hit from day one. Next to come is Dog Bowl opening in April – a city centre bowling concept which takes our leisure offering to the next step and further grows our involvement in the Oxford Road corridor.

After working at Abac and El Bulli in Spain Anthony opened Anthony’s Restaurant in Leeds, with the business backing of his father and subsequently launched Anthony’s at Flannels and Anthony’s Patisserie. In November 2008, a fourth restaurant, the Piazza by Anthony, opened in Leeds Corn Exchange, a venue to which the original Anthonys will relocate shortly. Anthony has also developed the casual-dining Rib Shakk brand.

David Fox Owner Tampopo

Nick Jeffrey Owner Tampopo

Duncan Fisher Owner The Apartment Group

Based in Newcastle, this rapidly expanding group employs over 500 people and now has 11venues in its varied portfolio, including an award winning restaurant, city centre bars and clubs, a neighbourhood bar, and boutique hotel. Recent openings include the impressive Newton Hall hotel and House of Smith club and members lounge.

David and Nick set up Tampopo in 1997 after touring south-east Asia. The chain brings authentic tastes of south-east Asia through healthy, highquality food at value for money prices with quick, friendly service. They both continue to make regular trips to the region to seek out its best street-food and signatures dishes.

Nigel Haworth See Craig Bancroft for full details


Jonny Heyes

William Lees Jones

Owner Port Street Beer House

Managing Director J W Lees

Owner of Common, Port Street Beer House, The Beagle and IndyManBeerCon. Common was voted ‘Bar of the Year; at the 2010 Manchester Food and Drink Awards. After a successful year at Common Jonny opened Port Street Beer House. Port Street specialises in cask, keg and bottled beers from around the UK and beyond. It won MFDF ‘Pub of the Year’ 2012 as well as being named in Guardian’s ‘Top10 place in UK for craft beer’.

William Lees-Jones is Managing Director of JW Lees, owners of JW Lees Brewery, JW Lees Pubs, The Alderley Edge Hotel, The Trearddur Bay Hotel and Willoughby’s Wine Merchants. JW Lees is a sixth-generation family business which employs just over 1,100 people,150 at the brewery and site in Middleton Junction in North Manchester and 950+ in its 35 managed pubs, as well as letting a further 130 tied pubs to self-employed tenants.

Nick Jeffrey

Neil Macleod

See David Fox for full details

See Roy Ellis for full details

Richard Kershaw

Colin Manning

Managing Director Joseph Holts

60 Hope Street

Richard joined the board in 1980 and is the great grandson of original founder Joseph Holt. He has been Chief Executive since 2000. The brand has over 20 draught, bottled and canned beers and 127 pubs across Greater Manchester.

Terry Laybourne MBE

Chef Patron 21 Hospitality Group Since opening his first restaurant in Newcastle in 1988 and winning a Michelin star three years later, chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne has become a North East institution and one of the UK’s most highly regarded chefs. His 21 Hospitality Group now operates five restaurants including his flagship Café 21. He received an MBE for his contribution to the restaurant industry and tourism.

Gary Manning 60 Hope Street

Gary and Colin’s family owned and run restaurant group is based around Liverpool’s iconic Hope St and includes the flagship 60 Hope Street, which prides itself on its cuisine and service, as well as Asian fusion restaurant HoSt and Quarter restaurant and deli kitchen. After attending catering college in Liverpool and training as a chef in restaurants in London and Australia, Gary Manning returned to his hometown in 1997 with the hope of achieving his dream of opening a restaurant before he reached his 30th birthday. His brother Colin had also honed his hospitality skills, in front-of-house roles and as a relations manager for British Airways.

The Best Northern Operators

Vince Margiotta

Dave Mooney

Il Forno & Sapporo

Owner New Moon Pub Company

Director of Sapporo Teppanyaki & Il Forno restaurants. Passionate about great food, service and hospitality and is committed to local colleges.

Paul Newman Owner New Moon Pub Company

Ross Mckenzie See Jobe Ferguson for full details

Eammon Mcloughlin Owner Eclectic Hotels

As owner of Eclectic Hotels, Eammon oversees the running of three uniquely styled and furnished hotels. Great John Street, Manchester, Didsbury House and Eleven Didsbury Park.

David blossomed under the demanding & expert eye of Raymond Blanc, then the erratic, but brilliant Marco Pierre White before coming home to the ‘family business’ The Belle Époque in Nutsford, Cheshire, achieving Michelin awards and Good Food accolades for over 20 years. Paul Newman is an accomplished restaurant and bar based sales & marketeer and operator with more than 25 years experience in the wines and spirit, drinks brands and bar & restaurant industries. David & Paul are co-owners of the New Moon Pub Co.

Beau Myers See Marie Carter for full details

Stephen Miles General Manager Radison Blu Edwardian Manchester

Paul Newman See Dave Mooney for full details

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Si Ord General Manager of the Radisson Blu Edwardian Free Trade Hall. He holds the role of Chair of the Manchester Hoteliers Association, and NW Regional Hoteliers Association. He is currently leading the project to construct and operate the national hospitality skills academy, Hotel Future. His previous experience includes THF and Hilton hotels prior to joining Radisson Edwardian where he has been a member of the senior management team for 25 years. He also sits on the boards of Hospitality Action and Visit Manchester. Selected by the judges for maintaining the highest standards for Manchester’s five star hotel, whilst giving unstinting support to industry groups and charities and founding the £30m Hotel Future training school (the UK’s first) in Oldham.

Owner Sandinista

Sandinista! Leeds opened in October 2002 and Manchester in March 2011. Inspired by a love for music, food and drink and Central American Culture. Adopting the maxim ‘nuestra casa es tu casa’ – our home is your home. Smokestack opened in November 2007 taking guests on a musical voyage through New Orleans funk, Harlem jazz and Memphis soul, stopping to pick up some Chicago blues, reggae and old school hip hop along the way.


Steve Perez

Clive Preston

Chairman Casa Hotel

Chairman Amber Taverns

After launching Global Brands, a leading drinks brand development business with an impressive collection of premium spirits, wines, beers, RTDs and soft drinks, which are exported all over the world, in late 2010 Steve’s dream of building Chesterfield’s first four star hotel came to fruition. The idea, from the outset, was to build a hotel which would be both luxurious and stylish, and which the local community and businesses would use for both pleasure and corporate functions.

Clive founded Amber Taverns in 2005 and today owns and manages 70 pubs in the north of England. Using a recipe of buying closed or struggling pubs in lively areas and turning them into successful businesses with Sky TV and competitively priced drinks.

Jeremy Roberts See Tim Bacon for full details

Andrew Pern Peter Robinson Chef Patron The Star at Harome

Andrew Pern is the chef-proprietor of the 34-seat Star Inn at Harome, near Helmsley in North Yorkshire. The Perns have built up a mini-empire in Harome that includes the Pheasant hotel, just 200 yards from the Star Inn, and a gourmet village shop and deli. He appeared in the 2011Great British Menu BBC TV series and won the North East final.

Steve Pilling Director Damson Group

After leaving catering college Steve joined the legendary Michelin brigade of Gilbert Lefevre at the Midland French. As fish chef he was chosen to cook for the royal family visit to Manchester and then working in several top class establishments, returning to Manchester in 95 at the request of Greenalls to re-establish the fortunes of Mr Thomas’ Chop House, the rest is history. Now steering the New Damson group to a successful future.

Chairman Frederic Robinson

Oliver Robinson Commercial Director Frederic Robinson

Oliver is the commercial director of the brewery and a member of the sixth generation to work for Frederic Robinson Brewery. Today the company owns 400 pubs throughout the north-west and the family shows no signs of slowing down. Robinsons is one the UK’s largest family brewers, with 400 pubs across the North West and Wales. Peter joined the business as part of the 5th generation in the 1950s and continued to grow the company.

The Best Northern Operators

Simon Rogan

Humphrey Smith

Chef Patron L’Enclume

Owner Samuel Smith Brewery

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD In 2013, Simon will take over the management of two restaurants in The Midland Hotel, Manchester – The French, which was one of the first UK establishments to be awarded a Michelin star when the guide was launched in 1974, will open on 12 March as The French by Simon Rogan, and a second, larger bar and dining room, currently the Colony, in June 2013. L’Enclume received a second Michelin star in the 2013 edition of the Great Britain & Ireland Guide, full five rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide,10/10 in the Good Food Guide 2013, Best Restaurant in the North West and 11th in the top 100 in the Sunday Times Food List 2012. Selected by the judges for a year of unprecedented critical success – a second Michelin star and 10/10 Good Food Guide rating – combined with an ambitious expansion plan taking in London and now Manchester.

Jonathan Slater Managing Director The Chester Grosvenor

Jonathan has been at the helm of The Chester Grosvenor since 1st August 1983. During the late 1980’s he personally supervised every aspect of a multi million pound refurbishment and the creation of two award winning restaurants, La Brasserie and Arkle – since renamed Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor. An inexhaustible supporter of tourism to the UK and Cheshire, his other roles include directorship of Visit Chester & Cheshire and of the Chester and Cheshire Conference Bureau.

The Old Brewery in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, was established in1758. Samuel Smith, a successful butcher and cattle dealer from Meanwood, Leeds, funded his son John to buy it from the Hartley family in1847. John Smith took over the brewery forming John Smith's Brewery, before leaving it to his young nephew Samuel. Samuel Smith inherited the Old Brewery in1886 and re-opened it under his own name. Samuel Smith's remains independent.

Nick Taplin Managing Director Sanguine Hospitality

With more than 25 years in Hospitality, Nick’s vast experience in the sector incorporates nightclubs, 5 star hotels, branded high street bars, branded hotel operations, health clubs and spas. As Managing Director of Sanguine Hospitality, Nick has significant input into acquisitions and development schemes and is actively involved in leading and directing a number of Sanguine’ s current and future developments.

Lorna Tyson MBE Owner Mere Brook House

Lorna is now managing and developing Mere Brook House, a country house on the Wirral that offers high class accommodation along with facilities for business meetings and celebrations. Mere Brook House was the Liverpool City Region Accommodation of the Year in 2012 and recently gained entry for the first time in the Michelin Guide 2013. Lorna was awarded the MBE in the Queen's birthday honours 2004 for services to rural enterprise in the North West.


The Best Northern Operators

Richard Smith

Joel Wilkinson

Chef Patron Relax Eat & Drink

Owner Trof

“Smithy” went to catering college in Buxton, then spent the next decade cooking all over the UK and America ,then back home to Sheffield, opening his first restaurant in 95.17 years on he has a portfolio of nine unique establishments; Artisan, Beauchief Hotel, The Cricket Inn, Eccy Rd bar & kitchen, Relish, The Inn at Troway, Thyme cafe, Rose Garden and LSJ special events.

Manchester born Joel and his wife Adelaide founded Zecol Ltd in 2001when they opened the first Trof bar in Fallowfield. Since then they have opened 6 more across the city that operate as pubs, bars, live music venues and event spaces. Following Gorilla a further major Manchester opening is planned in the next twelve months. Joel also owns a record label call Suffering Juke Box that has been featured on Hugh Stevens Radio1 show and has artists in the UK, US and Japan.

Steven Walker CEO Individual Restaurant Company A stockbroker by profession, Steven Walker has spent the last 20 years in food manufacturing, food retailing and restaurants. He built the Roberts Food Group into one of the UK’s leading food businesses which was sold to Greencore in 2003. Currently Steven’s private businesses include the Individual Restaurant Company, 32 premium restaurants including The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Piccolino, Bank Restaurant & Bar and Zinc. Through constant innovation, commitment and a keen eye to detail Steven has successfully maintained Individual Restaurant Company as a market leader.

Roger Ward Owner The Victorian Chophouse Company Roger is owner of Manchester’s Victorian Chop House Company. With a background in advertising, in 2000 Roger decided to stop developing other peoples’ brands and create his own. The Victorian Chop House Company was born and now includes Sam’s Chop House in Manchester and Leeds and Mr Thomas’s Chop House Manchester, as well as the recently launched Albert Square Chophouse, which includes rooms and event spaces.

Martin Wolstencroft Managing Director Arc Inspirations

Martin became Whitbread’s youngest manager in1992 and by 1998 was High street area manager and new concept development manager. In 2000 he set up Arc Inspirations which is now made up of Arc, The Box, Trio Bar & Grill, Skippy’s, The Hub and Banyan Bar and Kitchen.

Stewart Yip Owner Red Chilli

Stewart is a Manchester entrepreneur whose portfolio of businesses includes the Chi Yip supermarkets. He also owns the Ocean Treasure restaurant, Red Chilli restaurant chain, Manchester 235 casino and K2, and a threefloor karaoke bar in Manchester’s Chinatown.

NRB Top 50 Awards are announced each year at the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition – the largest hospitality trade fair in the North of England. For sponsorship enquiries please call 01457 866 710 or email The entry for nominations for the 2014 awards will open late 2013. Please check the website or follow us for updates.

/nrbmanchester @nrbmanchester

The NRB Top 50 takes place at the NRB exhibition every March and is organised by Holden Media.

Holden Media Ltd 12a High Street East Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 8DA Tel: 01457 866 710

NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2013  

The NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2013. Celebrating the very best Northern hospitality operators.

NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2013  

The NRB Top50 Awards Booklet 2013. Celebrating the very best Northern hospitality operators.