OCEAN CITY — The Restaurant Association of Maryland on Sunday held its 60th Annual McCormick and Company “Stars of the Industry” awards and once again the resort area was well represented with winners in several categories.
RAM held its annual awards gala this year at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge for the first time, which turned out to be fitting as many of the award winners had to travel just over an hour to claim their first-place hardware. For years, the Ocean City’s culinary reputation on the western side of the Chesapeake was largely old school seafood houses and crab houses, pizza and Boardwalk popcorn, but that perception has certainly changed in recent years with resort area establishments repeatedly taking home the lion’s share of the state’s most prestigious restaurant awards.
This year was no different as several of the resort’s culinary pillars were recognized in various categories. Throughout the late winter and early spring, over 25,000 members of Maryland’s dining public voted for their favorites in several categories, and when the votes were counted and the winners announced on Sunday, it was Ocean City’s names getting called over and over.
For example, The Shark on the Harbor Chef Travis Wright was named 2014 Chef of the Year in Maryland, an award for which he had been nominated previously.
The 2014 Restaurateur of the Year Award went to Tammy Patrick-Cebula, owner and operator of the Galaxy 66 Bar and Grille and Skye Bar in Ocean City.
Fager’s Island was named the 2014 Craft Brew Program of the Year Award winner.
Sticking close to home, the Brew River Restaurant and Bar in Salisbury was named the 2014 Favorite Bar or Tavern during the awards gala on Sunday.
Also honored on Sunday were a pair of local restaurants inducted into the Maryland Hospitality Hall of Honor. In 2000, the Maryland Hospitality Hall of Honor was created to recognize those restaurants in the state that embody the spirit of the hospitality industry based on their longevity and overall contributions to the industry. Joining the Maryland Hospitality Hall of Honor on Sunday were BJ’s on the Water and the Bayside Skillet, both in Ocean City.
Similarly, Horizons Restaurant in the Clarion Fountainebleu Hotel was honored with a Heart of the Industry Award. Finally, this year’s Brice and Shirley Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the famed Phillips Seafood founders, went to Fred Lankford of Sysco Eastern Shore.
“The gala is our opportunity to honor and give recognition to elite restaurants across the state,” said RAM President and CEO Marshall Weston. “We are fortunate to have such a diverse group of restaurants to choose from who are dedicated to their customers, their community and their employees.”