2015 RAM ‘Stars of the Industry’ Awards Finalists


Thousands Will Cast Their Vote for Maryland’s Best Restaurants

by Alex Cooper, Director of Membership and Marketing, RAM

The Restaurant Association of Maryland’s (RAM) annual Stars of the Industry Awards celebrate Maryland’s diverse food options and recognize the exceptional talent of the people who dedicate their lives and livelihoods to this industry. Each year, thousands of Maryland’s diners and foodservice professionals participate in the voting process. This year, tens of thousands are expected to vote.

In addition to honoring favorite chefs and restaurants, this awards program also shines a spotlight on the unsung heroes of our industry. The Heart of the Industry, for example, is awarded to a front or back of the house employee who embodies the hospitality industry by making sure every detail of their job is completed with care and compassion. The McCormick Cornerstone of the Industry honors the restaurant that provides outstanding community service and involvement. And the Hospitality Hall of Honor recognizes those industry leaders who have exhibited hard work, dedication, courage and creativity while representing the hospitality and foodservice industry in Maryland. Congratulations to Foodservice Monthly’s very own editor, Michael Birchenall, who is being inducted this year.

Voting is now open through March 11. The dining public can vote for their favorites online at or on Facebook at Winners will be announced on April 12 at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s 61st Annual Stars of the Industry Awards Gala – Havana Nights. Each winner will get statewide bragging rights and the opportunity to display their 2015 award-winning logo on their website, menus and other promotional materials.

The following restaurants and restaurateurs have been nominated as the top finalists in each category:

Publicly Voted Categories:

Chef of the Year, presented by Oracle:

  1. Michael Matassa – Alchemy, Baltimore
  2. Jordan Lloyd – Bartlett Pear Inn, Easton
  3. Geoff Tracy – Chef Geoff’s, Rockville
  4. Fabio Mura – Grille 620, Ellicott City
  5. Stephanie Wilson – Vintage, New Market

Craft Brew Program of the Year, presented by Evolution Craft Brewing Company:

  1. Burley Oak Brewing Company – Berlin
  2. T-Bonz Grille & Taphouse – Ellicott City
  3. Max’s Taphouse – Baltimore
  4. Red Brick Station – White Marsh
  5. Victoria Gastro Pub – Columbia

Favorite New Restaurant:

  1. Ananda – Fulton
  2. Highland Inn – Highland
  3. Iron Rooster – Annapolis
  4. Lib’s Grill – Perry Hall
  5. Touch of Italy – Ocean City

 Favorite Restaurant:

  1. Houlihan’s – Columbia
  2. Jules Restaurant – Ocean City
  3. Laurrapin Grille – Havre de Grace
  4. Madrones – Frederick
  5. Miss Shirley’s Café – Roland Park (Baltimore)
  6. Pasta Plus – Laurel

Favorite Bar or Tavern:

  1. Birroteca – Bel Air
  2. Dogfish Head Alehouse – Gaithersburg
  3. Galway Bay – Annapolis
  4. Kooper’s Tavern – Baltimore
  5. River Hill Sports Grille – Clarksville

Heart of the Industry, presented by CohnReznick:

  1. Julio Dupuy (Sous Chef) – Iron Rooster, Annapolis
  2. Dennis Theriault (Manager) – Laurrapin Grille, Havre de Grace
  3. Danielle Bloom (General Manager) – Schula’s Grill & Crabhouse, Hagerstown

Wine and Beverage Program of the Year:

  1. Bistro Blanc – Glenelg
  2. Cunningham’s – Towson
  3. Grapeseed American Bistro & Wine Bar – Bethesda
  4. Red Red Wine Bar – Annapolis
  5. The Wine Kitchen – Frederick

Members Only Categories:

Allied Member of the Year, presented by Southern Boys Concepts:

  1. The Columbia Bank – Mitch Phillips
  2. Ecolab – Bryan Kight
  3. Franklin & Prokopik – Albert Randall
  4. Heartland Payment Systems – Chrissy Mayhew
  5. State Auto Insurance Companies – Joe Meholic

Restaurateur of the Year, presented by the Maryland Restaurant & Hospitality Self Insurance Fund:

  1. Anthony Clarke – Galway Bay, Annapolis
  2. John Harrison – Harrison Group, Ocean City
  3. John Minadakis – Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Baltimore
  4. Buddy Trala – Sunset Grille, Ocean City

 Honoree Categories:

Brice & Shirley Phillips Lifetime Industry Achievement Award:

Fred Rosenthal – Jasper’s & Madrones

The Otto Schellhase Award:

Mary Ellen Mason – Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute at Anne Arundel Community College

Hospitality Hall of Honor Inductees:

  1. Antrim 1844 – Taneytown
  2. Linwoods – Owings Mills
  3. Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs – Annapolis
  4. Crab Quarters – Baltimore
  5. Foodservice Monthly

 McCormick Cornerstone of the Industry:

  1. Sofi’s Crepes – Baltimore
  2. The Greene Turtle
  3. Irish Restaurant Company
  4. Glory Days Grill
  5. Black Restaurant Group

About the Author

Foodservice Monthly is the newsmagazine foodservice professionals rely on.

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