Albany’s Rustlers Steakhouse and Grill wins Golden Plate as WA’s best family restaurant

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
The Rustlers Steakhouse crew with the Gold Plate for being WA's best family restuarant.
Camera IconThe Rustlers Steakhouse crew with the Gold Plate for being WA's best family restuarant. Credit: Matt Jelonek

What many in Albany already knew was confirmed last week when Rustlers Steakhouse and Grill was named among the best restaurants in WA.

The popular Stirling Terrace restaurant claimed the Catering Institute of WA’s Gold Plate award as the State’s best family dining experience last week.

General manager Les Palmer said the win meant a lot to his team because it reflected an effort to deliver quality service to everyone in a group.

“We don’t have playgrounds outside or anything like that, it’s all down to how we treat even the young people that come through,” he said.

“It’s an acknowledgement that all your customers need to be valued.

“If you look after the little ones, the older ones get to stay longer because they are enjoying the dining experience and they are relaxed because they don’t have screaming children running around.”

Judges determined it stood out ahead of tough competition from Bunbury’s Nicola’s Ristorante, Henley Brook’s Bailey Brewing Co, Caversham’s Sandalford Winery and Port Kennedy’s The Birdie Restaurant to win the award.

It is the restaurant’s second Golden Plate win after taking out the same category in 2019.

“We also try to keep the prices of the kid’s food down because we are well aware we are not a cheap restaurant,” Mr Palmer said.

“The price of beef and produce is climbing, and just as it affects the households, it affects the restaurants.

“We understand that, so we cap the kid’s menu at $18 and that covers everything — we don’t make any money off it, but when families come out they know they get a feed at a price that they can budget.”

Restaurant manager Jamie Puls was also one of four finalists nominated for excellence in customer service.

He said he took pride in what he did and was “shocked by the nomination”, especially seeing as he now spent less time “on the floor” since becoming manager.

“They must have come in on a rare occasion I had to be on the floor,” he said.

“I just always focus on what the customers need and don’t focus on just one table — because a lot of people get stuck on just doing that, I like to spread my service among everyone in the restaurant.”

Rustlers was also one of the three finalists in contention for best steakhouse/barbecue or grill, which was won by Perth’s Firewater Grille.

What the judges said:

“They were welcomed the moment they arrived at Rustlers for lunch and greeted with a warm smile and immediately shown to their table. Throughout the service, the wait staff checked that everything was to their liking. The staff were well trained.

“The atmosphere of the restaurant was a credit to management. Observing the diners around them, they all appeared to be enjoying themselves. The drink service was excellent and they had the knowledge required.

“The layout of the restaurant was suitable for diners’ privacy. The ambience was very pleasant, suitable temperature and the background music was appropriate.

“The quality of food and portion sizes were ideal and with today’s rising costs were well-priced. The food was hot, flavoursome and of good texture.

“The dining experience excellent, great food, excellent service and wonderful atmosphere!”

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