Tuesday, April 10 – LaHa Gains Entry In Md. Restaurant Hall Of Honor

OCEAN CITY – Monday will be a special day for one resort restaurant
set to be inducted into the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s (RAM) Hall of
Honor and could be made even more memorable for a handful of local restaurants
and bars nominated for prestigious awards during RAM’s “Stars of the Industry”
gala.

La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, a mainstay in Ocean City
for nearly three decades, will be inducted into RAM’s Hall of Honor on Monday
night at Martin’s West in Baltimore during the organization’s annual awards
gala. La Hacienda’s induction into the Hall of Honor will be just part of the
evening with a decidedly Ocean City flavor as several other restaurants in the
resort area have been recognized with nominations for prestigious awards this
year.

For example, the Marlin Moon Grille has been nominated for
“Favorite Restaurant in Maryland,” while Liquid Assets has been nominated for
“Wine and Beverage Program of the Year.” Joining the party on Monday will be
the Greene Turtle and Seacrets, which are both nominated for “Favorite Bar or
Tavern in Maryland” awards.

For La Hacienda and owner Bill Herbst, who has been
running the popular Mexican restaurant at the same location on 81st
Street in Ocean City since 1979, the induction into the state’s Hall of Honor
represents the culmination of several decades as a steady favorite in Ocean
City. The modest restaurant opened in June 1979 and has undergone some physical
changes over the years, the most recent coming with a major expansion and
remodeling in 1988, but Herbst and his staff have remained true to the same
basic foundations established nearly three decades ago.

For Herbst, that has always meant buying the freshest and
the best ingredients he can find, prepared with care and attention to detail
and served by friendly, familiar faces.

“We established good foundations years ago and we’ve stuck
to the same basic premise despite the changes we have undergone over the
years,” he said. “We always try to buy the freshest and best ingredients we can
whether its produce or chicken or wine and I hope that shines through in the
finished product.”

Herbst praised his loyal staff, many of whom have been
with him for years, as the second part of his successful equation.

“I would put the people on my staff up against anybody’s”
he said. “I’ve either been very lucky over the years or I’ve been good at
recognizing the type of people I want on my staff. In either case, the people
who work in this restaurant are as much responsible for our induction into the
Hall of Honor as anything else or more so.”

La Hacienda has received various awards in the past and
has been nominated for several others over the years, but next week’s induction
into the Hall of Honor represents a peak for Herbst. La Hacienda is being
inducted with several other restaurants from around the state including Alonso’s,
Harris Crab House, Lista’s Southwest Grill and The Bayou.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Honor is one of the
highlights of my restaurant career,” he said. “It’s nice to be honored by your
peers.”

While La Hacienda will be inducted into the Hall of Honor
during RAM’s annual gala, several other prominent Ocean City area restaurants
will have to wait until Monday night to learn their fates. For example, the
Marlin Moon Grille has been nominated for the prestigious “Favorite Restaurant
of Maryland” award along with some well-known heavyweights in the industry from
all over the state including Tio Pepe’s in Baltimore, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
Antrim 1844, Charleston, Clyde’s, Miss Shirley’s and O’Leary’s.

Owned and operated by Gary and Julie Beach, the Marlin
Moon Grille first opened in May 1999 under the name Reel Inn Grille above the
old Ocean City Marlin Club on Route 50. It has since changed to the Marlin Moon
Grille and moved about a half-mile west to the Francis Scott Key Motel, but
throughout its changes the restaurant has remained true to Beach’s fundamental
premise of great food prepared by a talented kitchen crew and served by an
efficient staff in an inviting atmosphere.

Liquid Assets is also nominated for an impressive award
during RAM’s gala on Monday night. The innovative restaurant and bar inside a
beer and wine store on 92nd Street has become increasingly popular
in the last year or so and is nominated for “Wine and Beverage Program of the
Year.” Liquid Assets is up against a handful of renowned restaurants from all
over Maryland including Charleston, Corks, Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine
Bar, Grapeseed American Bistro and Wine Bar, and the Iron Bridge Wine Company.

Finally,
Ocean City is well known for its great bars and taverns and two of the resort’s
most popular watering holes are nominated for “Favorite Bar/Tavern in Maryland”
awards during RAM’s gala on Monday night. The Greene Turtle and Seacrets will
by vying for the honor along with several other nominees from all across
Maryland. 

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