The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation honored its 2014 Restaurant Neighbor and Faces of Diversity American Dream award winners, and announced the 2014 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award, at a gala evening last week during the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

The awards honor tremendous community involvement by restaurant operators and significant stories of success among those seeking the American dream. Winners were selected from a group of nominations. Nation’s Restaurant News participated in judging the nominees and selecting the winners.

“The restaurant industry has touched the lives of millions of people by creating opportunity and investing in communities across the country,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy for the NRA and NRAEF. “The 2014 winners of the Restaurant Neighbor, Faces of Diversity and Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality awards are models for the entrepreneurship and community service that are the hallmarks of our industry. We applaud their extraordinary achievements.”

The Restaurant Neighbor Award, developed in partnership with American Express, celebrates the outstanding charitable service performed by restaurant operators. Created 16 years ago, this award recognizes the impact restaurants and entrepreneurs have made on their local communities.

Recipients of the 2014 Restaurant Neighbor Award received a $5,000 contribution to continue supporting their charitable initiatives. The winners are:

Matt Haley, CEO, SoDel Concepts (Rehoboth Beach, Del.)
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Passport Pizza (Clinton Township, Mich.)
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Cohn Restaurant Group (San Diego, Calif.)
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Panda Restaurant Group (Rosemead, Calif.)
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