OCEAN CITY – The local restaurant community was well
represented at this week’s Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) “Stars of
the Industry” Annual Industry Gala.
Although places like the Marlin Moon Grille, Seacrets, the
Greene Turtle and Liquid Assets did not come away with a win in the categories
they were nominated, the businesses agreed being nominated was an honor in
itself and that it shows a lot about the businesses in Ocean City.
However, Ocean City did manage a couple of wins in a sense
as La Hacienda owner Bill Herbst was inducted into the RAM’s Hall of Honor and
Phillips Crab House owners Brice and Shirley Phillips were honored with the
Lifetime Industry Achievement Award.
Herbst, who has been running La Hacienda for almost 28
years, said it was a great feeling to be honored by his fellow restaurateurs
from throughout the state.
“It’s more about honoring my service to the community and
to the restaurant industry than it is about me and my restaurant,” he said. “It
wasn’t a goal to achieve this anymore than it was to run a successful business
and live a happy life.”
Gary Beach, owner of Marlin Moon Grille, said the event
was quite impressive. With hundreds of people in attendance and food from all
kinds of establishments being served, Beach along with family and staff did not
return home until 4 a.m., he added with a chuckle.
“I think Ocean City had a great night,” Beach said. “We
had us, the Greene Turtle, Seacrets, LaHa, Phillips and all these other
businesses that got their start in Ocean City.”
According to Beach, the most memorable part of the night
was being able to sit across from his old lacrosse coach who is the owner of
Atrium 1844, one of the establishments up for “Favorite Restaurant” along with
the Marlin Moon Grille.
Seacrets owner Leighton Moore echoed Beach’s thoughts on
“Everything was absolutely amazing. Next year I’m going to
get there before it opens, the hors d’oeuvres were that good,” he said.
“Everything was just off the hook.”
Moore said his favorite moments of the night were getting
to see Herbst being inducted into the Hall of Honor and the Phillips being
honored with the Lifetime Industry Achievement award.
“I’m definitely looking forward to coming back next year,”
he said. “Especially if they think I’m worthy of another nomination, I’ll be
back every year.”