2021 has been a year of learning and rebuilding. Our industry has faced unprecedented perils and a celebrations is in order. Every year we award the Manager of the Year, Chef of the Year, Restaurant Neighbor, and Restaurateur of the Year. We are not letting all of the challenges stop us from showcasing the talent and tenacity of our wonderful industry. Instead of our annual Hospitality Industry Awards In-Person Gala, we will be presenting the awards and celebrating our industry leaders through social media, emails, podcasts and videos.
RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR
The Restaurateur of the Year Award is the highest honor a person can receive in the New Mexico restaurant industry, and NMRA has been honored to present this award every year since 1967.
NMRA is proud to honor our 2021 Restaurateur of the year, Jason & Deidra Vinson of Yo Mama’s Grill. Check them out on the NMRA Podcast New Mexico Restaurants NOW!
Learn More about Yo Mama’s Grill.
Restaurant operators and owners have displayed their superpowers of conviction and flexibility through a difficult year. 2021 was a year of rebuilding, and these leaders had a lot on their plate. Their care for their employees, customers, and community really shined through. Congratulations to the 2021 nominees who exemplify excellence in customer service, employee relations, innovation, and who have a true passion for the restaurant industry. We are lucky they are on our team.
2021 Restaurateur Nominees
CHEF OF THE YEAR
The food is the heart of every restaurant. It all starts there, and Chefs are the superheroes who make it happen.
NMRA is proud to honor our 2021 Chef of the year, Mark Kiffin of The Compound. Check him out on the NMRA Podcast New Mexico Restaurants NOW!
Learn More about Mark Kiffin & The Compound.
New Mexico is very fortunate to have some outstanding chefs in our state. Their creations are artistic and delicious. Feelings of comfort, camaraderie, and community all follow a plate of delicious, imaginative food. These New Mexico chefs were nominated by their peers for their superpowers of creativity, leadership, and love of food. Congratulations to all of 2021’s nominees for Chef of the Year.
2021 Chef Nominees
Bryan R. – Artichoke Cafe
Christian M – Heritage Hotels & Resorts
Dale K. – Santa Café
Danny S. – Ohkay Casino
Eder A. – Barrio Fries
Jason B. – Steel Bender Brewyard
John H. – M’tucci’s Group
Jose “Kiko” R. – Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves
Lane W. – La Fonda Hotel Santa Fe
Luke R. – Double Eagle
Marc Q. – Hotel Andaluz
Mark K. – The Compound Restaurant
Martin R. – Restaurant Martin
Matthew S. – The Range
Mike P. – Route 66 Casino Hotel
Michael W. – High Point Grill
Myles L. – Santa Ana Golf Club/Prairie Star
Raul M. – Ohana Hut
Rony G. – Dinner for Two
Ryan L. – High Noon Saloon
Tamera M. – Special Touch Catering
Thomas J. – Jackson Ranch Steakhouse
Tristin R. – Hollow Spirits Distillery
Tyson P. – Mykonos Meraki
RESTAURANT NEIGHBOR OF THE YEAR
2021 has called for support, kindness, and strength from our neighbors… including restaurants. Despite the challenges 2021 has brought to businesses and employees, these restaurant neighbors reached out to their communities to pay it forward. This award recognizes restaurants that are active supporters of their communities and make a positive contribution to the places where they live and work.
NMRA is proud to honor our 2021 Restaurant Neighbor of the year, Michael White of High Point Rustic Kitchen. Check him out on the NMRA Podcast New Mexico Restaurants NOW!
Learn More about Mike White & High Point.
Like many hard working folks who are so giving of their time and generous with their resources, they are not always recognized. There’s no more needed time than now to focus on the Restaurant Neighbors who use their superpowers to pay it forward. Congrats to 2021’s Restaurant Neighbor Superheroes.
2021 Restaurant Neighbor Nominees
Andres Paglayan – Cafecito
John Haas – M’tucci’s
Jorge Atuna – Old Pecos Trail Café
Keith Ross – Silvermoon Café
Melva Aguirre – Pepper Pot Restaurant
Mike White – High Point Grill, Rustico Italian, 505 Food Fights
Pete Rallis – Copper Canyon Café
Rob Morrissey – Kith + Kin Roasting Co.
Ronnie Padilla – El Pinto Restaurant
Stephen Rosas – Sofia’s Kitchen
Wayne Moore – DH Lescombes Winery & Bistro
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Managers are the glue that holds the whole restaurant together. Managers are vital—and 2021 has been a challenge. In addition to keeping daily tasks in check and watching out for the restaurant’s bottom line, managers are the team leaders. They have had to navigate through many changes in rules and regulations, menu, and safety precautions as we all try to find our new normal.
NMRA is proud to honor our 2021 Manager of the year, Tai Ayers of Ohori’s Coffee Roasters. Check her out on the NMRA Podcast New Mexico Restaurants NOW!
Learn More about Tai & Ohori’s here.
So, cheers to you, managers! Thank you for all you do. Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees.
NMRA’s Awards Nomination Committee, comprised of former Restaurateur of the Year Winners, has the opportunity to review all of the nominations, and makes the difficult decision on who will be the winners for the year. Stay tuned later in the week to see which of these very talented and dedicated managers is our Manager of the Year for 2021.
2021 Manager Nominees
Bonnie W. – Ohkay Casino
Casey H. – Weck’s
James H. – Red River Brewing Company & Distillery
Kevin C. – DH Lescombes Winery & Bistro
Maggie S. – Chello Grill
Marty K. – Effingbar Grill
Ronnie P. – El Pinto Restaurant
Rudy P. – Paradise Hills Golf/The Office
Ryan W. – Laguna Burger
Sonya S. – Canteen Central of NM
Starr B. – Joseph’s Culinary Pub
Steve G. – Hot Tamales
Tai A. – Ohori’s Coffee Roasters
Tami M. – A Bite of Belgium
Tracy O. – Applebees