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Finalists for 11th Annual GRACE Awards Gala Announced

The Georgia Restaurant Association announced the finalists for the 2017 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards.

Restaurateur of the Year: Small/Independent

Robert Owens and Gregory Vivier, Grand Champion BBQ

Steven Satterfield and Neal McCarthy, Miller Union

Melissa Clegg and Jaamy Zarnegar, The Last Resort Grill


Restaurateur of the Year: Franchisee

Allen Peake and Mike Chumbley, Fazoli’s

Jonathan Ewing and Jonathan Joiner, Amici

Dan Jenkins, Subway


Restaurateur of the Year: Large/Corporate

Longhorn Steakhouse

Ted’s Montana Grill

The Krystal Company


Industry Partner of the Year

PSG Construction




Distinguished Service Award

KBP Foods


Taco’s and Tequila


Culinary/Hospitality Student of the Year

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


Manager of the Year

Andy Palermo, El Felix and Superica


Restaurant Employee of the Year

Ronald Foster, Fresh To Order


Lifetime Achievement Award

John Ferrell, Mary Mac’s Tea Room

All finalists are peer nominated. The winners are then decided by the GRACE Academy, consisting of all former GRACE nominees and current GRA Board Members.

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, the GRACE Awards Gala, an exclusive event honoring leaders who have made outstanding contributions to Georgia’s restaurant industry, will take place at the Stave Room at American Spirit Works 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, Culinary/Hospitality Student of the Year and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, John Ferrell of Mary Mac’s Tea Room.

“The GRACE Awards Gala is a time to recognize hospitality and foodservice professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields, emphasizing the GRA’s mission to celebrate and honor Georgia’s exemplary culinary scene,” 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 to purchase tickets, visit


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