THE WOLFTRAP STEAKHOUSE CHAMPION OF 2016 IS CROWNED!
The Local Grill in Parktown North takes top honours for the third time
and Little Havana in Umhlanga Rocks, the 2015 Champion, receives the 2016 Runner-Up award
The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships 2016 saw 115 steakhouses competing to win the crown and become South Africa’s Steakhouse Champion for 2016. The public battled it out by voting, via Facebook and SMS, and their favourite Twenty Steakhouses went to the judges’ round – and ultimately it was The Local Grill in Parktown North that claimed top honours for the third time in four years.
This makes The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships a blend of public involvement and expert arbitration – and the ultimate winner is therefore not only very good indeed, but also a public favourite. For the winner the spoils: the ultimate bragging rights of being the Champion for a year, and also a full year’s supply of The Wolftrap wine.
The Top Twenty, as voted by the public, were visited unannounced by expert judges led by Pete Goffe-Wood, well-known MasterChef judge, during May, and assessed according to a strict score sheet. While the Top Twenty are South Africa’s favourites for 2016, when it came to judging, eight of the Finalists stood out above the rest receiving scores over 80%, but it was The Local Grill in Parktown North, hotly pursued by Little Havana in Umhlanga Rocks, who received the top scores, followed by The Godfather in Centurion, a stalwart in the industry.
The 2016 Top Eight Steakhouses including the Winner and Runner-Up were announced at a steak feast hosted by last year’s winner, Little Havana in Umhlanga Rocks, on Tuesday 21st June. Most of the Top Twenty Finalists were present as well as an excited group of media and friends from the industry. Martin Lombaard, owner-patron of Little Havana, and his dedicated and passionate team pulled out all the stops at the luncheon, treating the guests to a 4-course lunch, served with The Wolftrap wine.
The Winning Steakhouses for 2016 are:
· Winner: The Local Grill, Parktown North, Johannesburg – Gauteng (2013, 2014 and 2016 Champion)
· Runner-Up: Little Havana, Umhlanga Rocks – KwaZulu Natal (2015 Champion)
· 3rd place: The Godfather, Centurion, Pretoria – Gauteng
· 4th place: Longhorn Grill, Bloemfontein – Free State
· 5th place: Havana Grill, Durban – KwaZulu Natal
· 6th place: The Cricketer, East London – Eastern Cape
·7th place: The Grumpy Griller, George – Southern Cape
· 8th place: Cattle Baron, Mossel Bay – Southern Cape
The scores were extremely close, especially at the top, but ultimately, it was The Local Grill’s expertise in presenting the full meat experience that earned them the crown yet again.
We are extremely pleased with the growth of this competition on all levels. Our steakhouses just get better year after year. One thing that really stood out for us was the vast improvement in the quality and variety of the veggies served on the side. We do feel however that there is room for improvement when it comes to the fries and the sauces served. We congratulate the 2016 Finalists, especially the Top Three, for their immense effort, the public for their enthusiastic participation and The Wolftrap wine for their phenomenal support.
An ecstatic Steve Maresch, owner of The Local Grill in Parktown North, was overcome with emotion on receiving top honours for the third time. “We did not expect this honour in a year where we have experienced the worst drought in 100 years, and especially after our main competitor, Little Havana, treated us all to a steak extravaganza of note today. We pay homage to the bovine and are extremely grateful for this recognition thanks to the support of our loyal patrons, the judges and The Wolftrap wine.
Steak is a South African passion and the steakhouse is the favourite national restaurant. The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships is now in its fourth year. Previous winners are: The Local Grill, Parktown North (2013 and 2014); Little Havana, Umhlanga Rocks (2015), The Local Grill, Parktown North (2016).
The Wolftrap Red – a Rhône-style blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier;
Winner: The Wolftrap Steakhouse 2016 Champion – Steve Maresch of The Local Grill, Parktown North, with his 2016 Champion Trophy;
Winner: The Wolftrap Steakhouse 2016 Champion – Steve Maresch of The Local Grill, Parktown North (middle) receives the 2016 Champion Trophy from Inge Hoffmann (The Wolftrap) and Pete Goffe-Wood (Head Judge);
The Local Grill – Steak served with The Wolftrap Red;
The Runner-Up: Little Havana in Umhlanga Rocks receives the Runner-Up Award – Left to right; Clive Gundu, Inge Hoffmann (The Wolftrap), Louise Potgieter, Pete Goffe-Wood (Head Judge) and Themba Mgoma;
3rd place: The Godfather in Pretoria L to R Steve Kobrin, Inge Hoffmann (The Wolftrap), Janet Kobrin and Pete Goffe-Wood (Head Judge);
Little Havana – Steak served with The Wolftrap Red;
Huge bottle of The Wolftrap Red outside Little Havana in Umhlanga Rocks for the Awards function;
Martin Lombaard, owner-patron of Little Havana, cutting the perfect steak for guests at the Awards function;
The Wolftrap Red – the perfect steak partner;
Pete Goffe-Wood (Head Judge) and Inge Hoffmann (The Wolftrap) having fun tucking in at the Awards function;
4th place: The Longhorn Grill L to R Inge Hoffmann, Tony Moutsouyiannis, Pete Goffe-Wood and Emmanuel Moutsouyiannis;
5th place: Havana Grill L to R Inge Hoffmann, Ryan Sherryl, Pete Goffe-Wood and David Khairutz;
6th place: The Cricketer L to R Inge Hoffmann, Marc Nelson and Pete Goffe-Wood;
7th place: The Grumpy Griller L to R Inge Hoffmann, Haydi Schultz (Vinimark) and Pete Goffe-Wood;
8th place: Cattle Baron Mossel Bay L to R Inge Hoffmann, Yvette Fourie, Ruzanne du Plessis and Pete Goffe-Wood.
Additional information on The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships 2016
1st Phase – Public Nominations and Voting Round: 1 April – 30 April 2016
This was the Voting Round where the public voted for their favourite Steakhouses. They could vote for one Steakhouse daily on Facebook plus one daily via SMS. At the end of Phase 1, the 20 Steakhouses with the most votes went through to the Judging Round.
2nd Phase – Unannounced Judging Round: 1 May – 31 May 2016
Led by Pete Goffe-Wood, this is the round where the judges made unannounced visits to the Top 20 as voted by the public. These 20 were assessed by the judges according to a standard score-sheet.
Final Phase – Award Ceremony: Tuesday 21 June 2016
The Award Ceremony took place on 21 June at the 2015 Steakhouse Champion, Little Havana in Umhlanga Rocks, where The Wolftrap Steakhouse Champion for 2016 was announced.
The Judges: Pete Goffe-Wood is the head judge, assisted by regional experts.
What defines a steakhouse? A steakhouse is a restaurant that specialises in grilled beef and that has a menu based on steak or a clear and dominant section of the menu dedicated to steak. If it is a section of the menu, this needs to form the most substantial part of the whole menu. Restaurants that offer pizza, pasta, sushi and steak are unlikely to qualify as steakhouses.
What are the judges looking for? Judges rate the steakhouses according to a wide-ranging, standardised score-sheet which examines all aspects of dining out and encompasses the total experience, but focusses on the quality of the steak and the side dishes that are part of a steak meal.