The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) has named the finalists for the 2015 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards. All finalists are peer nominated with the winners decided by the GRACE Academy, which consists of all past GRACE nominees and current GRA board members.
The winners will be named at the GRACE Awards Gala, on Nov. 1, at the Foundry at Puritan Mill in Atlanta. The GRA will also honor the Restaurant Employee of the Year, Manager of the Year, ProStart Student of the Year and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Doug McKendrick of McKendrick’s Steak House.
Additionally, Jim Stacy, television host and owner of Pallookaville Fine Foods, will serve as the MC. Live entertainment will be provided by the Latin band, Willie Ziavino and C.O.T. Band, who regularly plays at GRA member restaurant, Eclipse di Luna.
“In celebration of the 9th Annual GRACE Awards Gala, we are delighted to continue the tradition of recognizing our industry for their excellence and achievement,” said Karen Bremer, executive director of the GRA.
A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank, whose mission is to fight hunger by engaging, educating, and empowering the community.
Restaurateur of the Year: Small/Independent
Jonathan and Justin Fox, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
Kevin Rathbun, Cliff Bramble and Kirk Parks, Rathbun’s, KR Steak Bar, Kevin Rathbun Steak
Ryan Pernice and Ted Lahey, Table & Main, Osteria Mattone
Restaurateur of the Year: Franchisee
Mike Orcutt, Cowabunga, Inc. | Domino’s
Matt Hansen, KBP Foods | KFC, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, Pizza Hut
John Silvey, Poultry Partners | Zaxby’s
Restaurateur of the Year: Large/Corporate
Adriana Quintanilla, Norsan Group Restaurants | Frontera Mex-Mex Grill, Luciano’s Ristorante Italiano, Pampas Steakhouse
Paul Damico, Moe’s Southwest Grill
Cheryl Bachelder, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Industry Partner of the Year
Atlanta Foodservice Expo
The Giving Kitchen
Distinguished Service Award
Fifth Group Restaurants
Ray’s on the River
Tin Lizzy’s Cantina
ProStart Student of the Year
To be determined by the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia (HEFG)
Manager of the Year
Dewey Funna, Hudson Grille Midtown
Restaurant Employee of the Year
Chris Gianaras, 4th & Swift
Lifetime Achievement Award
Doug McKendrick, McKendrick’s Steak House