Ocean City Today
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Restaurant awards gala to take place in Ocean City, Sun.

By Kara Hallissey | May 03, 2018
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 on Sunday at the Clarion Resort on 101st Street.

(May 4, 2018) The Restaurant Association of Maryland’s 64th annual Stars of the Industry Awards Gala winners will be announced on Sunday, May 6, at the Clarion Resort Hotel on 101st Street.

“We look forward to having support from the entire town of Ocean City and truly showcasing what our industry represents,” said Kim Schlosser, communications and events manager for the Restaurant Association of Maryland.

The sold-out event recognizes top bar and restaurants in the state with the general public voting for their favorites to determine the winners.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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. There are some great finalists in other categories too. Ocean City is the best town in Maryland.”

Taustin, who is vying for Restaurateur of the Year, vacationed in Ocean City when he was a kid. At 16 years old, he started working in restaurants 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.”

Winners will be announced this Sunday at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s Stars of the Industry Awards Gala – A Shore Thing, at the Clarion.

For more information, visit marylandrestaurants.com/gala and facebook.com/marylandrestaurants.

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