Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is pleased to honor four state finalists for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) 2018 Restaurant Awards! These winners will be recognized during ORLA's annual Convention in Tigard this fall.
NRAEF created the Restaurant Neighbor Award with founding partner American Express to highlight the positive contributions restaurants make in their local neighborhoods each and every day. The Faces of Diversity American Dream Award honors individuals from a diverse background who, through hard work and determination, have realized their American dream.
FACES OF DIVERSITY AMERICAN DREAM AWARD
Jessica Ritter, Ritter's House Made Foods, Salem
Background: Jessica Ritter started the Wild Pear Restaurant with her sister Cecelia over 18 years ago with little money and a lot of determination to build it into a local successful business employing an ethnically diverse staff that shares in their passion of great food and community. Jessica has lead a team of high school students in the ProStart program and has mentored several other aspiring young
chefs. Being a mix of Vietnamese and Irish decent, Jessica and Cecilia
live the example of promoting diversity in their work and community.
Overcoming obstacles: While in their early 20’s, Jessica and her sister started with little to no start-up capital but showed through their passion, hard work and family values that by pulling together they could achieve their dreams.
Community support: The Wild Pear Restaurant supports many local charities such as Family Building Blocks, the Union Gospel mission and others. The Ritters also volunteer their time to coach young staff members aspiring to learn the industry both in management and in the kitchen.
RESTAURANT NEIGHBOR AWARD
Greg's Grill on the Deschutes, Bend
Charitable activities include: Each month the restaurant chooses a local charity and donates a dollar per glass of wine or four per bottle from a wine selection to that cause. New this year, Greg’s Grill is organizing a Clam Chowder Cook Off with six other restaurants where the money raised through ticket sales will be donated to local food banks.
Impact on the community: The restaurant has had a great deal of success, averaging close to $400-500 a month in donations. Their primary focus has been local, veteran-affiliated charities, as well as food bank charities. Not only does the community greatly benefit from these activities, the staff get invested in the idea of benefitting local organizations that need support.
Skyland Pub, Troutdale
Charitable activities include: The activities are numerous, including a golf tournament, giving tree, torch run, Polar Plunge, and several causes to support local businesses, law enforcement, firefighters, veterans, and foster children.
Impact on the community: Proceeds from the annual golf tournament go to support Oregon Veterans, a special cause for Skyland Pub. They work with the Wounded Warrior Project (a nationally-focused organization), directing their efforts to support the needs of local area men and women. The pub also supports Forward Assist, an Oregon-based volunteer-run organization that solely supports Oregon Veterans. The impact they make on their community is immeasurable, and their reward is knowing they are making a positive impact on people who deserve it the most.
Three Creeks Brewing Company, Sisters
Charitable activities include: Long-time supporter of the American Cancer Society and local Relay for Life of Redmond-Sisters. Donation of countless gift cards, swag, money, beer and time to those in need. They funded the start of the Sisters Stampede, sponsor the Sisters Folk Fest and the Quilt Show, contribute to the Sisters Parks and Recreation District, and put on the Annual Sisters Fresh Hop Festival.
Impact on the community: The company supports virtually every event in the community, raising thousands of dollars for charities and local causes. A recent noteworthy accomplishment was raising over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.