Taco Mac is a 2018 GRACE Award Finalist for Distinguished Service

May 15, 2018


Atlanta, GA (May 15, 2018) – The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) is delighted to announce the finalists for the 2018 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards. 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 Sunday, August 12, 2018. 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. A complete list of finalists can be found at the end of this release.


“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.”


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 http://www.garestaurants.org/grace-awards-gala.html.


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

Bloomin’ Brands

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


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, Large/Corporate), Industry Partner of the Year, Diversity Leadership Award 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.

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