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RAM 2017 Stars of the Restaurant Industry Award Winners Announced

With more than 600 members in attendance, the Restaurant Association of Maryland announced the winners of its 63rd Annual Stars of the Restaurant Industry Awards. The gala celebration and awards presentation took place Sunday, April 30 at the Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore. Over thirty-five thousand votes were cast to decide the favorite Maryland restaurants and industry professionals.
“The Gala is our opportunity to honor and give recognition to elite restaurants across the state. We are fortunate to have such a diverse group of restaurants to choose from who are dedicated to their customers, their community, and their employees,” said Marshall Weston, President and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland.

Award Winners and Honorees

McCormick Cornerstone  of the Industry Award
Awarded to the companies that best illustrate how restaurants are the cornerstone of the economy and their community. These successful businesses support local communities by creating jobs and financially supporting non-profit groups, schools, scouts, and youth sports teams.
• AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar, Columbia
• Blackwall Hitch, Annapolis
• Glory Days Grill, Six Md. locations

Maryland Hospitality Hall of Honor  2017 Inductees
Celebrating its 17th anniversary, the Maryland Hospitality Hall of Honor was created to recognize those restaurants in Maryland that embody the spirit of the hospitality industry based on their longevity and overall contributions to their customers. Awardees have all been in business for at least 20 years.
• The Bowman Restaurant, Parkville
• The Brewer’s Art, Baltimore
• Chat-N-Chew Restaurant, McCoole
• Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, Ellicott City
• Minato Sushi Bar, Baltimore

2017 Restaurateur of the Year
Presented by the Maryland Restaurant & Hospitality Self Insurance Fund
A restaurant owner who shows originality, offers quality customer service, demonstrates success in the eyes of his/her fellow operators, and demonstrates leadership on behalf of the foodservice industry.
• John Liberatore, Liberatore’s Ristorante & Catering

2017 Allied Member of the Year
An industry supplier company that goes above and beyond to serve the foodservice industry, demonstrates leadership, and is recognized for outstanding service and quality products.
• Business & Commercial Ventures, Represented by Jerry Blumenthal

2017 Chef of the Year
Presented by Oracle
An executive chef who demonstrates consistent standards of excellence, serves as an inspiration to other foodservice professionals, displays dedication to the artistry of food, and exhibits ongoing commitment to the community.
• Brigitte Bledsoe, Miss Shirley’s Café

2017 Craft Brew Program of the Year
Presented by Evolution Craft Brewing Co.
An establishment that is recognized for its craft beer selection and features a menu and staff that are knowledgeable and passionate about the world of craft beers.
• The White Oak Tavern, Ellicott City

2017 Favorite New Restaurant
A new establishment opened in Maryland in the past two years that exhibits a top-notch menu, impeccable service, and amazing atmosphere.
• Slice New York Pizza, Baltimore

2017 Favorite Restaurant
A trendy spot or an old favorite that you return to time and time again.
• Mission BBQ, 14 Md. locations

2017 Favorite Bar or Tavern
The watering hole you frequent where the drinks are great, and the bartenders are beyond compare.
• Harborside Bar & Grill, Ocean City

2017 Heart of the Industry Award
A staff member who goes above and beyond to keep the restaurant running smoothly and exemplifies dependability, teamwork, and dedication to the restaurant industry.
• Garret Hadel, Bartender at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood

2017 Wine & Beverage  Program of the Year
An establishment that is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity, and value of its beverage program.
• Dry 85, Annapolis

The Otto Schellhase Award
An individual of sterling character who has made numerous contributions to RAM and the Education Foundation.
• Maria Vaccaro, Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop

The Brice & Shirley Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is given to the person who exemplifies sound business principles and impeccable character while dedicating his or her career to the betterment of the restaurant and foodservice industry.
• Peter Plamondon Sr., Roy Rogers restaurants

Eddie Dopkin First Course Award, Honoring Entrepreneurship in Hospitality
Presented by Miss Shirley’s Café and The Classic Catering People
The Dopkin family created this $5,000 scholarship to celebrate the life and memory of Eddie Dopkin, founder and visionary behind the award-winning Miss Shirley’s Café and a partner with The Classic Catering People.
• Elisheva Goldenberg, Stratford University

2017 ProStart Student of the Year
This award is given to the high school student who dedicates him- or herself to pursuing a career in the foodservice industry.  The awardee has excellent grades, takes the time for extra-curricular activities, and is a leader in the classroom.
• Kyle Schwartz, Northeast High School

2017 ProStart Teacher of the Year
This award is given to the high school culinary arts or restaurant management teacher who empowers and inspires students to pursue a career in the hospitality industry while holding students to a high standard.
• Jeffrey Smith, Sollers Poin

ASSOCIATION NEWS RAM Marshall Weston

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