Ocean City Today
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Final days to vote for resort restaurants in 11 categories

By Kara Hallissey | Mar 22, 2018
Photo by: Kara Hallissey Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, will receive the Brice and Shirley Phillips Lifetime Industry Achievement Award at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s 64th annual Stars of the Industry Awards, which will take place at the Clarion Resort on 101st Street on May 6.

(March 23, 2018) Ocean City residents and visitors have a few days left to vote for their favorite bars and restaurants in 11 categories through the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s 64th annual Stars of the Industry Awards, recognizing the best establishments in the state.

The dining public has until Wednesday, March 28 to vote for their favorite restaurants and bars online at www.marylandrestaurants.com/gala or on the Maryland Restaurant Awards Facebook page, Facebook.com/marylandrestaurants.

Sunset Grille in West Ocean City is vying for Favorite Restaurant and Jay Taustin, owner of Embers, BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar and Captain’s Galley, is up for Restaurateur of the Year.

“Every vote counts toward ensuring that your favorite finalists get a much deserving win,” said Kim Schlosser, communications and events manager for the Restaurant Association of Maryland. “Keep in mind that there are two voting methods: our online voting platform as well as ‘liking’ your favorite’s official photo on the RAM Facebook page.”

The Harrison Group, Waterman’s Seafood Company, the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, DaVinci’s by the Sea and Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill will all be inducted into the Maryland Hospitality Hall of Honor.

Since the gala is taking place in Ocean City for the first time, there are also three new resort-only categories: Favorite New Restaurant, Favorite Crab House, and Favorite Boardwalk Treat including staples such as Dumser’s Dairyland, Phillips Crab House, Thrasher’s French Fries, Fisher’s Popcorn, the Crab Bag, the Wrapper and BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar.

In addition, new Ocean City restaurants such as Dry Dock 28, Rare & Rye and Shotti’s Point are competing for honors.

“The finalists with the highest total number of votes combined from both voting methods will win,” Schlosser said. “We had over 20,000 votes last year and are hoping for even more participation this year.”

Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, will receive the Brice and Shirley Phillips Lifetime Industry Achievement Award.

“I am thrilled and quite excited,” Jones said. “In fact, I teared up and found out right before the trade show ended. People don’t normally get me by surprise, being I am such a planner.”

Jones said she was elated and honored to receive an award in Brice and Shirley Phillips’ name.

“Brice and Shirley were amazing people and have done so much for Ocean City and the state,” Jones said. “It is huge the event is being held in Ocean City for the first time this year. It is so important for businesses to vote.”

Buddy Trala, owner of Sunset Grille, credits the hard work of his managers, kitchen and floor staff for the Favorite Restaurant accolades. The West Ocean City establishment took home the award in 2011.

“It is great and I am happy,” Trala said. “We’ve had the same chef and sous chef since [Sunset Grille opened in 2004]. We would be the only ones to win the award twice.

“It is great for Ocean City and we are lucky to be here,” he added. “There are some great finalists in other categories too. Ocean City is the best town in Maryland.”

Taustin, vying for Restaurateur of the Year, has been vacationing in Ocean City since he was a little kid. He started working in restaurants at 16 years old, washing dishes and bussing tables, before moving to the resort full time at 21 years old.

“I’ve been working in the industry for 49 years,” Taustin said. “It has been neat. I’ve been getting phone calls and messages from people I have not spoken to in a long time. Vote for me!”

Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 6 at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s Stars of the Industry Awards Gala – A Shore Thing at the Clarion Resort on 101st Street.

“We look forward to having support from the entire town of Ocean City and truly showcasing what our industry represents,” Schlosser said.

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