My Inspiration: Sharon Machala
Sharon Machala from Strudel Bistro in Groomsport says its seaside location keeps her and her chef husband motivated in business
I started Strudel Bistro in 2011 along with my husband and head chef, Fritz.
Our friends and family thought we were mad setting up in the middle of a recession, but Fritz has vast experience of working with Northern Ireland's top chefs.
This knowledge combined with a passion and desire to run our own business gave us the push we needed.
Our cafe in Bangor helped us understand local tastes, and Fritz's ability to combine his Austrian culinary ideas into menu dishes inspired us to offer something different. Customers even lovingly refer to his apple strudel as North Down's best-kept secret.
We are blessed to be located directly opposite the sea on Groomsport's main street.
There is something therapeutic about looking out on the calming water to balance the madness of a busy restaurant.
Of course there is also the added bonus of having fresh fish right on our doorstep, which allows us to have a wide variety on our new menu.
Northern Irish produce is hard to beat and having top-quality suppliers local to the area is one of the reasons why we enjoy working in the hospitality industry.
Our customers inspire us to keep evolving and improving the restaurant.
Our recent Best Casual Dining award from the Restaurant Association of Ireland has reinforced the belief in our product.
We support our local community by hanging art by amateur artists.
They inspire us all as they are a truly gifted bunch.
It's great to be able to give some space in the restaurant and get so much positivity in return.