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.


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“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.)
View a video profile of the winner:



Passport Pizza (Clinton Township, Mich.)
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Cohn Restaurant Group (San Diego, Calif.)
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Panda Restaurant Group (Rosemead, Calif.)
View a video profile of the winner:


 

Faces of Diversity American Dream awards

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The Faces of Diversity American Dream award, sponsored by PepsiCo Foodservice, is given to diverse members of the restaurant industry who have, through hard work and perseverance, achieved the American Dream.

The 2014 Faces of Diversity American Dream Award went to three restaurant entrepreneurs. The winners are:

Griselda Barajas, president and CEO, Griselda’s Catering (Sacramento, Calif.)
View a video profile of the winner:



Mansour Ghalibaf, owner, Hotel Northampton (Northampton, Mass.)
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Jahangir Kabir, district supervisor, White Castle System Inc. (Woodside, N.Y.)
View a video profile of the winner:



The 2014 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality award, the premiere award bestowed by the NRAEF to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry, was awarded to Jackie Trujillo, chairman emeritus of Harman Management, a Los Altos, Calif.-based franchise that operates more than 300 KFC restaurants and several others locations cobranded with Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and A&W.

View Trujillo’s acceptance speech: