Texas Restaurant Industry's Brightest Stars Take Center Stage at 2023 Texas Restaurant Awards
Award Nominees Announced by the Texas Restaurant Association Represent the best of Texas’ Restaurant Owners and Operators.
AUSTIN, TX (May 12, 2023) – Today, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) announced the nominees for its coveted Texas Restaurant Awards, highlighting some of the state’s most exciting restaurant owners, operators and champions. The anticipated celebration kicks off the Texas Restaurant Foundation’s (TRF) annual Lone Star Bash during the Texas Restaurant Show, which takes place July 7-10, 2023, at George R. Brown Convention Center, in Houston, Texas. Winners will be revealed during the 2023 Texas Restaurant Awards ceremony, Sunday, July 9, 2023.
“We are thrilled to recognize the 2023 Award nominees and celebrate their outstanding achievements,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President & CEO of the TRA and TRF. “Nominees represent restaurants from across the entire state of Texas, and each have demonstrated inspiring levels of dedication and excellence in their work. We cannot wait to recognize these industry pioneers and leaders at the Texas Restaurant Awards & Lone Star Bash in Houston.”
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Award categories include: (Nominee Listing Follows)
RISING STAR AWARD
This award recognizes the hard work that goes into opening a restaurant. This person or concept is an up-and-comer with ambitious goals and the grit to achieve them.
DEEP IN THE HEART AWARD
Texas is massive and filled with amazing talent. This award is designed to highlight those successful and creative restaurant owners and chefs with concepts not located in one of the big four metro areas (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, or Austin).
COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD
The TRA’s Community Impact Award, introduced in 2022, is awarded to a nominee who is an active member of the TRA that has a demonstrated legacy of uniting and empowering their community. Community may be defined in many different ways to reflect the tremendous diversity within our industry, including race, religion, gender, sexuality, veteran, culture, and more.
OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Every year, restaurateurs around the state are honored for work in their communities, leadership success, and entrepreneurial spirit. The finalists for this award come from the pool of winners of the Outstanding Restaurateur Awards, chosen by the individual 23 chapters that comprise the TRA.
HALL OF HONOR
A long-standing Texas Restaurant Association tradition, outstanding individuals are inducted to the Hall of Honor each year to recognize their significant contribution to the Texas restaurant industry and to the association. This honor is the highest that the Association can bestow. To qualify, nominees must have a minimum of 15 years of TRA membership and exemplify superior business ethics.
CHEF TIM KELLY AWARD FOR EDUCATOR EXCELLENCE
Texas ProStart instructors who demonstrate leadership and excellence in culinary education are eligible to contend for the annual Educator Excellence Award. Teachers must be advocates of the Texas ProStart program and dedicated to helping students achieve success. Awarded to educators who have made significant contributions in the classroom and beyond.
THE CARMELO MAURO SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY AWARD
The Carmelo Mauro Award is annual recognition, given by the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF), for outstanding achievement by an individual philanthropist who has demonstrated the highest ethical standards, commitment, dedication, and talent towards the future of the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Newly added awards for 2023:
INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AWARD
New for this year, the Innovation in Education Award serves to recognize individuals, groups or organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to innovation and excellence in the field of culinary and hospitality education. The Award is a celebration of those who have dedicated themselves to improving the education experience for both students and teachers and demonstrated a willingness to push boundaries in order to support the preparation of our workforce.
EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM AWARD
Also new for this year, the Excellence in Journalism Award recognizes work in media and journalism that goes above and beyond to promote the restaurant and foodservice industry as well as provide insight into how our industry functions and the issues facing operators. We proudly recognize the hard work and dedication of journalists and/or organizations who strive to inform and educate the public while upholding the highest journalistic standards.
RESTAURANT INDUSTRY CHAMPION AWARD
The TRA is introducing the Restaurant Industry Champion Award this year to celebrate policymakers, organizations and individuals who go above and beyond to protect and strengthen Texas’ restaurant industry. Recipients will be selected on the basis of their service and the exceptional impact they’ve had on the laws, regulations, and business environment that empower restaurants to serve their communities.
Nominees in each category are listed below:
RISING STAR AWARD presented by AutoChlor
|The Drunken Oyster & Savor
|The Culinary Code
DEEP IN THE HEART AWARD presented by Ben E. Keith
COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD presented by JP Enterprises
|Alex Dang & Thao Nguyen
|Bobby & Danny Lee
|The Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery
|John & Belinda Kemper
|Blue Bonnet Café
|Southern Smoke Foundation
OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR presented by Healthy Hospitality
Nominees are comprised of the 2023 TRA Chapter Restaurateur of the Year recipients:
|Restaurateur of the Year
|Cypress Street Station Restaurant
|Black Sheep Bistro, The Angry Marlin
|Chef Megan Walker
|Galveston Restaurant Group
|3 Brothers Bakery
|The Funky Door
|Chef Jessica Higgins
|Girasol Bakery & Cafe
|Cork & Pig Tavern, Red Oak Kitchen
|Rio Grande Valley
|Obana Restaurant Group
|Western Sky Steakhouse
|Aldaco's Mexican Cuisine
|From Scratch Hospitality
In addition to these nominees, inductees and award winners have been announced in the following categories:
HALL OF HONOR INDUCTEES
EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM AWARD
|Capwell "Cappy" Lawton
TEXAS RESTAURANT FOUNDATION CHEF TIM KELLY EDUCATOR EXCELLENCE
|Pat Sharpe, Executive Editor
TEXAS RESTAURANT FOUNDATION INNOVATION IN EDUCATION AWARD
|Emmett J. Conrad High School
TEXAS RESTAURANT FOUNDATION CARMELO MAURO SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY AWARD
|McAllen ISD S.T.R.I.D.E.S. Program
Will be announced the night of the Awards.
Learn More About the Awards
Tony Abruscato (Chief Marketing Officer) & Kelsey Erickson Streufert (Chief Public Affairs Officer)
ABOUT THE TEXAS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION
Formed in 1937, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) serves as the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice industry in Texas. As a leading business association, the TRA represents the state’s $87 billion restaurant industry, which encompasses more than 53,000 locations and a workforce of over 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Foundation, the workforce development arm of the TRA, the association proudly continues to protect, advance, and educate a growing industry as the TRA enters its 86th anniversary year. For more information, please visit www.txrestaurant.org.
ABOUT THE TEXAS RESTAURANT FOUNDATION
Established in 1994 by the Texas Restaurant Association, the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a strong professional foodservice workforce in Texas. Leveraging the latest skills, tools, and certifications, the TRF creates pathways of opportunity for one of the state’s largest and most diverse industries. The organization’s flagship program is Texas ProStart, an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management program that reaches more ¬than 25,000 students across 215 high schools in Texas. The TRF also supports restaurants in times of crisis; for example, in 2020, the TRF established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to raise and distribute more than $3.5 million to support over 800 independent restaurants and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.