Ohakune's "hamburgeria" The Blind Finch has won a New Zealand Regional Lamb and Beef Excellence Award.
It also has been granted a liquor licence.
Owner and former international superyacht chef Derek Allomes said he was excited by the award.
"In this region, it was only us and The Chateau ... and we're a hamburger restaurant. I'm so thrilled and think it's extraordinary."
The Blind Finch opened in June last year.
Being licensed meant there was now a "grown ups" cocktail list at the bar with all the favourites like a Cosmopolitan, Singapore Sling and Black Russian and many more, Derek said.
He had extended his menu with a "bene brunch menu".
Thirteen years ago in Whanganui, his hometown, he won a national eggs benedict award with a dish that was on the menu at the Cracked Pepper, a cafe run by Derek and his sister. After that, he headed out of Whanganui to see the world.
He spent "tough and pressured" years working globally as a top chef on superyachts owned by Russian new-money oligarchs, American electronics billionaires and wealthy British aristocrats, he said.
"It was absolutely all about the rich and famous, endless celebrities.
"It was very pressured work. You could cook something incredible and, if they didn't like it, you had to throw it out and start again."
The experience was recently featured in a glossy international boating magazine article titled Haute Cuisine on the High Seas.
"I was thrilled when I read it. Different life then."
He was working on the 90 metre Royal Huisman yacht Athena when the story was written.
"It was magnificent vessel with a stunning galley."
His job was to stun the owner and 10 charter guests with culinary creations daily.
"It was all or nothing every day, always incredible work and always intense."
Now he's thrilled to have his new business humming along in Ohakune, with dozens of regular customers and hundreds of tourists, especially at night because he's open until 2am, seven days a week.
"It's still just amazing to me that my gourmet burger restaurant has won a NZ Beef and Lamb Award. Now that to me is really something."
The new brunch menu will include the classic eggs bene but Derek has created new versions with crab, truffle and Mexican-style black beans and eggs (huevos rancheros.)