An Ilford pub landlord has thanked his customers for repaying efforts to enforce social distancing during lockdown.

The Prince of Wales pub was named as one of the Ilford Recorder’s Hospitality Heroes at the weekend.

Landlord David Christoff thanked all the readers who had voted for the pub, revealing that customers had appreciated his efforts to keep them safe at the height of the pandemic.

In celebration of National Hospitality Day (September 18), we asked our readers for their favourite pub, café and restaurant.

These nominations were whittled down to three finalists in each category for a final vote to crown Redbridge’s Hospitality Heroes.

The Prince of Wales was the winner in the pub category.

“We are a different type of pub,” said David.

“We are the last of a dying breed,” he claimed, the kind of place “where you can bring your family.”

Based in Green Lane, just minutes from Ilford town centre, the Prince of Wales is a traditional pub with sports on TV, a dartboard and a beer garden.

David said that the pub had lost customers early in the pandemic because they were tightly complying with restrictions on social distancing.

But he said many vulnerable customers in the community valued their effort and have become regulars.

“I know what myself and my staff are doing is right because we are getting the right type of customer,” said David.

In the restaurant category, Nino’s in South Woodford was the winner.

Established by James Hart in 1999, the family-run establishment in Electric Parade prides itself on cooking authentic and traditional Italian cuisine with a “lively atmosphere”.

The restaurant has been awarded the TripAdvisor certificate of excellence for six years in a row on the back of strong customer reviews.

Ilford’s Café 104 won in the café category.

Another family-run business, Café 104 has been serving the Barkingside area for almost 20 years.

Based just across the road from Barkingside Magistrates Court in Tanners Lane, the café caters for vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike.