GRA Recognizes Restaurants for Excellence in Community Service

02 Mar 2011 11:15 AM | Anonymous
Georgia Winners have a Chance to Win the National Restaurant Association’s Prestigious 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award

Four Georgia restaurants have been selected as state winners of the 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award and are now in the running for the national award that rewards community service, the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) announced today. The Restaurant Neighbor Award was created by the National Restaurant Association to recognize restaurants that exemplify the industry’s philanthropic spirit. The Georgia winners are: AmRest LLC. (Applebee's), Arby's Restaurant Group, HomeGrown Restaurant Concepts (Doc Chey's Noodle House, Osteria 832 Pasta & Pizza) and Radial Cafe.  

“We celebrate and support the remarkable efforts of our restaurant members,” said GRA Executive Director Karen Bremer. “Community involvement is vital to our mission, just as restaurants are vital to our communities. The GRA is committed to providing opportunities for our restaurateurs to give back, while also helping their businesses be more successful.”

In Hinesville, GA, Ceaser Walker, General Manager of the Flemington Applebee's, partnered with to host a Pancake Breakfast benefiting "wounded warrior" SSG Jason Letterman. During a deployment to Iraq, SSG Letterman's vehicle was hit by an IUD, inflicting life changing injuries to the head, and claiming both of his legs. Walker recruited local businesses to help raise over $6,000 in money and supplies to help make SSG Letterman's home wheelchair accessible. In addition, Flemington Applebee's has dedicated a wall inside its restaurant honoring fallen troops.

Arby’s Restaurant Group distributed nearly $3.5 million to charitable partners through Arby’s Charity Tour events, National Community In-Store Fundraisers and the Make A Difference Grant Program. Last year, the addition of the Arby’s Mobile Event Vehicle allowed the Arby's Foundation to hit the road, traveling the country in support of the annual Arby's Charity Tour Golf Tournaments, with a few special stops along the way. The first stop was a disaster relief effort in Nashville, Tennessee where Arby's fed over 800 employees of a devastated landmark - the historic Gaylor Opryland Hotel and Grand Ole Opry house. The Arby’s Mobile Event Vehicle also provided food to support our troops at Ft. Bliss and Ft. Stewart, ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition volunteers rebuilding Lighthouse Christian School, and 95 other community events across the country.

HomeGrown Restaurant Concepts: Doc Chey's Noodle House and Osteria 832 Pasta & Pizza are committed to raising funds for local firefighters. The restaurants give back to their local firestations through events like Breakfast with Santa, Morningside Mile and Anniversary Parties. In 2010, Rich Chey created the Morningside Mile race and block party during National Fire Safety Month to raise money and awareness. Current projects include restoring Atlanta's oldest fire station, which is in need of repair. Over the years, lack of funding and proper maintenance on this 1925 historic landmark has resulted in termite damage, holes in the ceiling and dangerous standing water.

Radial Cafe gave back to their community by serving Christmas Dinner to 65 homeless children, supported by local non-profit CHRIS Kids. In addition, each child received a "Christmas Day Gift Bag" with movie tickets, candy, mittens and other goodies. Also, every year for the last 10 years, Radial Cafe has fed 180-200 members of the LGBT community walking in the MLK Day Parade. Radial Cafe was also a 2010 sapphire sponsor of For the Kid in All of Us, brightening the lives of Georgia's Children in Need. This effort collected over 5,000 toys at Christmas time and over 1,600 backpacks full of school supplies over the summer.

The Restaurant Neighbor Award honors charitable contributions in four categories (small business, mid-size business, large business/national chain, and Cornerstone Humanitarian).  Each participating state restaurant association selects winners in their respective states that will be in the running for the national award.

The national winners of the 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award will each receive a $5,000 contribution to continue their community programs and be presented the awards in March in Washington, D.C.  Both national and state winners will be recognized on the National Restaurant Association website.

“We are proud to recognize these outstanding winners of the 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award,” said National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. “America’s restaurants serve their communities every day. Providing nourishment, quality of life, opportunity and enjoyment, restaurants are not only good neighbors but important contributors to our nation’s health and prosperity.”

The National Restaurant Association and Restaurant Neighbor Award founding partner American Express developed the award to raise awareness about the restaurant industry’s contributions in local communities across the country and to inspire other restaurant owners and operators to showcase their enormous contributions in their communities.  

For more information and to apply, visit the National Restaurant Association’s website at  

About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of nearly 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at

About the Georgia Restaurant Association
The GRA’s mission is to serve as the voice for Georgia’s Restaurants in Advocacy, Education and Awareness.  The GRA is sanctioned by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to operate Georgia’s only not-for-profit representing the state’s foodservice industry. From large chains to start-ups, the GRA helps make Georgia a better place for restaurants to do business and helps make restaurants better for Georgia.
For media inquiries, please contact Kelly Hornbuckle, GRA Director of Marketing, at 404.723.5428 or



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