PEMBRIDGE’S award-winning shop and tearoom has just taken another ‘steppe’ on the path to success.

Just two years after taking over at Ye Olde Steppes, a popular cafe in a 16th century half-timbered building, Sam Mizrahi and her team have not only maintained TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, but delighted customer reviews have made them the number one restaurant in Herefordshire.

“As a team we are extremely proud of this achievement!” says Sam, who managed the business for four years before taking ownership in September 2016. Feedback from customers now means that Ye Olde Steppes is considered the best among 479 restaurants in the county.

The framed award is based on food, service, value and atmosphere, each one receiving the highest praise from visitors and locals.

“It is fantastic, it makes you so proud,” says Sam. “We are an independent tea room in a little village up against all the food outlets and the big boys.”

Generally the comments enthuse about the friendly atmosphere and the food, many claiming that a visit to Ye Olde Shoppe is best described as an “experience”. One happy customer even said it was “like coming into your auntie’s living room”.

A native of Manchester, Sam feels strongly that she is a ‘custodian’ of the Steppes, a store dating back at least 200 years. She praises the achievement of previous owners, Gary Seaton and Mark Ratcliffe, who transformed the once empty building into a flourishing enterprise at the heart of the community.

Sam is thrilled that the high award-winning standards set by them have been maintained, and that the Steppes, with its local fruit and veg, is now ranked in top place in Herefordshire. She employs a total of eight people.

“I couldn’t do it without my family and my whole team, we are a unit” she says The team (pictured) also includes her Saturday helpers – Rosie, Elsie and Imogen.