OC Restaurant Earns Award

OCEAN CITY — Local business owners Ryan and Neely James of Mother’s Cantina in Ocean City were honored last week with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund with the third annual Theodore Roosevelt Award.

The James, who practice and preach sustainable business practices at their popular Ocean City cantina, were recognized by the Maryland LCVEF with the Theodore Roosevelt Award. The award, presented annually by the LCVEF, recognizes the individual, group or organization in Maryland which, through a specific action, event, or body of work, leaves a positive conservation legacy that mirrors the ethos of President Theodore Roosevelt.

In recent years, Ryan and Neely James and Mother’s Cantina have been out front of the local movement toward environmentally-friendly and sustainable business practices, from taking an active role in the town’s Adopt Your Beach program to leading the way on the attempt to ban, or at least reduce, the use of plastic straws. Most recently, Ryan and Neely James advocated in Annapolis during the effort to ban potentially harmful polystyrene, or Styrofoam, containers.

“Ryan and Neely James are small business owners who practice sustainability, preach sustainability and take pride in operating their business in a sustainable manner,” said Maryland LCVEF Board Chair Chuck Porcari. “Their work in Annapolis played a key role in convincing our elected state legislators that sustainable practices are part of a successful business model, no matter what size the business is.”

Maryland LCVEF Executive Director Kim Coble particularly applauded Ryan and Neely James for their work on the statewide Styrofoam ban and for their active leadership in advancing sustainability.

“It is an honor to give the Maryland LCVEF’s Roosevelt Award to Ryan and Neely James,” said LCVEF Executive Director Kim Coble. “Not only did their actions secure the passage of a styrofoam ban, but they also exemplify the power of speaking out and engaging in the political process.”

For their part, Ryan and Neely James said collectively the Roosevelt Award will only redouble their efforts.

“With this award, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund has gifted us with a new opportunity to reach a wider community with our message of smart spending for the environment,” the James’ said in a statement. “The Theodore Roosevelt Award will encourage us to do better, to raise the bar in business, in our family and for our community. In honor of this award, we will continue to put our future generations first by advocating for the preservation of our beautiful and bountiful coastal community.”

Ryan and Neely James said their stewardship has been inspired by the beautiful area in which they live and work.

“We choose to live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the natural beauty and resources it offers our community, Ocean City, Maryland,” the statement reads. “The Chesapeake Bay, which has the potential to be a positive example for all estuaries in our great nation, provides rich surrounding lands and waterways that supply our locally-sourced menus.”

Beyond the business aspect of their sustainable habits, the James’ said they were driven by leaving the environment better than they found it.

“We believe it is not only our obligation to use our platform to inform other businesses about transitioning to environmentally-friendly practices, but our duty as parents to do the best we can for our children and future generations,” the statement reads.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.