Georgia Restaurant Association Announces 2016 GRACE Awards

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The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) is proud to announce the finalists for the 2016 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards. All finalists are peer nominated, which ensures that we honor the most deserving in our industry.

Georgia Restaurants Association

“We are celebrating the 10th Annual GRACE Awards Gala and are delighted to recognize the best in the industry," said Karen Bremer, CEO GRA.

The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) is proud to announce the finalists for the 2016 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards. All finalists are peer nominated, which ensures that we honor the most deserving in our industry. The winners are then decided by the GRACE Academy, which consists of all past GRACE nominees and current GRA Board Members.

On Sunday, November 13, 2016, the GRACE Awards Gala, an exclusive event honoring leaders who have made outstanding contributions to Georgia’s restaurant industry, will take place at the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta, GA. At the event, winners for Restaurateur of the Year (Small/Independent, Franchisee, Large/Corporate), Industry Partner of the Year and the Distinguished Service Award will be announced. 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, Bob Amick of Concentrics Restaurants. A complete list of finalists can be found at the end of this release.

In addition, Jim Stacy, television host and owner of Pallookaville Fine Foods, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Live entertainment will be provided by the jazz group the Joe Gransden Duo.

“This is a very special year, as we celebrate the 10th Annual GRACE Awards Gala. Through this event we remember and recognize the last decade of GRACE Awards winners and their achievements as well as look to the bright future we face in the restaurant industry in Georgia,” said Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

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.
To learn more about the GRACE Awards, or purchase tickets, visit http://www.garestaurants.org/grace-awards-gala.html.

2016 GRACE AWARDS FINALISTS
Restaurateur of the Year: Small/Independent
Federico Castellucci, Castellucci Hospitality Group
Jamie Durrence, Daniel-Reed Hospitality
Jeff Landau, Metrotainment Cafes

Restaurateur of the Year: Franchisee
Shawn Hooks, Firehouse Subs
Donnell Thompson, RWDT Foods DBA Denny’s
Mack Wilbourn, Mack II, Inc.

Restaurateur of the Year: Large/Corporate
Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.
Cinnabon
Waffle House

Industry Partner of the Year
Coca-Cola        
Sysco
US Foods

Distinguished Service Award
Willy Bitter, Willy’s Mexicana Grill    
Van Jakes, Jake 22 Management     
Regynald Washington, Hojeij Branded Foods

ProStart Student of the Year
To be determined by the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia (HEFG)

Manager of the Year
Yvette Pearson, The Public Kitchen and Bar

Restaurant Employee of the Year
Valita Drayton, Krystal

Lifetime Achievement Award
Bob Amick, Concentrics Restaurants

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.

About the GRACE Awards
The GRACE Awards is the Georgia Restaurant Association’s annual black-tie gala event honoring Georgia’s Restaurant Industry. The GRACE awards are peer-nominated and honor the top finalists in the following categories: Restaurateur of the Year (Small/Independent, Franchisee, Large/Corporate), Industry Partner of the Year and the Distinguished Service Award. The winners are announced at the event and are presented with crystal works of art created by renowned local artist Hans-Godo Frabel.

For more information, ticket reservations, and/or sponsorship opportunities, visit the website at http://www.garestaurants.org/grace-awards-gala.html. For media inquiries, please contact Rachel Bell, marketing and communications manager, at (404) 467-9000 or rachel(at)garestaurants(dot)org.
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