NCRLA’s annual awards ceremony celebrates North Carolina’s top hospitality industry professionals.
RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 28, 2023) – The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), the voice of North Carolina’s restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry, hosted its annual Stars of the Industry awards ceremony last night.
Eighteen award recipients were recognized during the ceremony at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham. This year’s winners were selected based on their exemplary service, leadership, innovation and dedication to the restaurant and lodging industries.
“We are so proud to recognize the hardworking people in the hospitality industry,” said NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges. “The challenges never stop, but this group of men and women kept innovating and changing to keep their businesses and our industry up and running.”
Two members of the North Carolina General Assembly, Sen. Phil Berger and Rep. John Bradford, were recognized for their leadership. Their exceptional support resulted in thousands of businesses getting back $500 million in Hospitality Business Grants last year.
Other honorees recognized for their commitment to the industry were North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who won the Hospitality Partner of the Year, Angus Barn owners Van Eure and Steve Thanhauser, who won the Ken Conrad Award for Service to the Community, and Dave Gronewoller from GC Partners in Winston Salem, who took home the Griff & June Glover Award for Service to the Association. In addition to running their businesses, this group of people spent a lot of their precious time protecting and advancing issues related to the hospitality industry across the state.
After 35 years at Golden Corral, President & CEO Lance Trenary won NCRLA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 2023 NCRLA Stars of the Industry award recipients are:
- Restaurateur of the Year
- Scott Crawford, Crawford Hospitality
- Lodging Operator of the Year
- Gary Chhabra, CMC Hotels
- Hospitality Partner of the Year
- Steve Troxler, NC Department of Agriculture
- Ken Conrad Award for Service to the Community
- Van Eure & Steve Thanhauser, Angus Barn
- Griff & June Glover Award for Service to the Association
- Dave Gronewoller, GC Partners, Inc.
- Restaurant Managers of the Year
- Igor Gacina, Giorgios Hospitality Group
- Ashley Greene, Bluewater Waterfront Grill
- Restaurant Employee of the Year
- Matthew Barry, Midwood Smokehouse
- Lodging Managers of the Year
- Jason Whitaker, Extended Stay America
- Mike Masri, Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte Uptown
- Lodging Employees of the Year
- Charles Prince, TownePlace Suites Wilmington
- Regina Triche, Hampton Inn & Suites Jacksonville
- Faustina Tagoe, The Umstead Hotel & Spa
- Hospitality Champions of the Year
- Sen. Phil Berger
- Rep. John Bradford
- NCRLA Lifetime Achievement Award
- Lance Trenary, Golden Corral Corporation
The emcee for the night was Wade Minter, who is the public address announcer for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
The evening was made possible thanks to dedicated sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor US Foods; Photobooth Sponsor SpotOn; Silver Sponsors Ecolab, Employers, Healthy Hospitality, Uber Eats and Duke Energy; Bronze Sponsors Pepsi, Atlas Productions and Meetings on Cue; Registration Sponsor Insurance People; Supporting Sponsor Alsco Uniforms; Wine Sponsors Shelton Vineyards and Tryon Distributing; Cocktail Sponsors Blue Shark Vodka, Broad Branch Distillery and Mystic Farm and Distillery; and Beer Sponsors Clouds Brewing, Little City Brewing and Trophy Brewing.
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) serves to advance and protect the interests of more than 20,000 businesses that employ 11% of the state’s workforce and generate more than $27.3 billion in sales annually. www.ncrla.org