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Food and Drink
The Pony has been a fixture on the local dining scene for over 14 years now and has been picked by the people of Pemberton as their favourite restaurant for three years running. The long-time hotspot was owned and operated by Mike Richman, but was actually taken over by Neal Harrison and Alexander Stoll last year.
The team had previously operated the Fat Duck restaurant that was located at the local vineyard. They were able to test the waters at the former location but they needed a permanent home.
"We knew that the product we had to offer would work - the problem was the location."
They decided to make an offer on the Pony Espresso, and lo and behold Richman was ready to get out of the restaurant game. They closed the Pony Espresso for almost six weeks in early spring and reopened The Pony in early May.
They've changed things up a fair bit - renaming the business as simply "The Pony" and tweaking the menu. But at its heart and soul this is still the Pony that Pemberton has grown to love.
On top of sit-down service for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the business also features a coffee shop and bakery where people can grab goodies to-go.
Harrison was overwhelmed to discover that this year The Pony took home awards in the Best of Pemberton awards in 16 categories.
"I wouldn't have expected it, to be honest," he admitted. "..."That's one thing that we were scared about losing is that local following that The Pony had, and we knew it needed some work and we wanted to put our mark on it, and we didn't want to lose the local following by us doing that, and it sounds like we haven't. It sounds like everyone is still on board."
Coming in second in this category is the new Black Squirrel, located at The Meadows golf course, which just opened for business in May 2008. They aim to offer fine dining fare in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.
Best New Restaurant
The people of Pemberton have spoken, and the revamped and rebranded Pony Espresso (The Pony) has been picked as the best new restaurant in town. While they're not exactly NEW, co-owner Neal Harrison points out that they've changed a whole lot since taking over this spring.