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12th Annual GRACE Awards Gala Finalists Announced

The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) has announced the finalists for the 2018 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards.


Restaurateur of the Year: Small/Independent
Brian So, Spring
Federico Castellucci, Castellucci Hospitality Group
Tal Postelnik Baum, Bellina Alimentari

Restaurateur of the Year: Large/Corporate
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Church’s Chicken
Delaware North

Industry Partner of the Year
Bennett Thrasher
Choice HR
TFH Beverage Law

Diversity Leadership Award
Giulio Adriani, The Local Pizzaiolo
Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria del Sol
Todd Richards, Richards’ Southern Fried

Distinguished Service Award
City Winery
Porch Light Latin Kitchen
Taco Mac

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

Manager of the Year
Sammy Jimenez, Hal’s on Old Ivey

Restaurant Employee of the Year
Richard Davis, Goldberg’s Fine Foods

Chairman’s Award
Representative Meagan Hanson
Senator Renee Unterman

Lifetime Achievement Award
Gerry Klaskala, Canoe and Aria

All finalists are peer nominated, which ensures that the most deserving in the industry are honored. The winners are then chosen by the GRACE Academy, which includes former GRACE nominees and current GRA Board Members.

The GRACE Awards Gala, an exclusive event honoring leaders who have made outstanding contributions to Georgia’s restaurant industry, will take place at The Fairmont in Atlanta, GA on August 12. At the event, winners for Restaurateur of the Year (Small/Independent and Large/Corporate), Industry Partner of the Year, Diversity Leadership Award 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, Chairman’s Award winners and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Gerry Klaskala of Canoe and Aria.

“The GRACE Awards Gala really showcases the exemplary culinary scene we have here in Georgia,” said Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “Ninety percent of restaurants are actively involved in community activities. Our local restaurateurs are not only feeding our stomachs, but they’re feeding our souls by making a positive contribution to their communities.”


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