On December 1st the New Jersey Restaurant Association will host the 2014 Annual Awards Gala, one of the premier events of the year for the state’s restaurant and food service industry.
For the first time, the black tie evening will be held in South Jersey at The Merion in Cinnaminson, NJ. Doors will open for cocktails at 6:00pm.
Four inspiring and successful restaurateurs will be honored that evening and bestowed awards from their peers. This year’s cast includes: Edward Doherty of Doherty Enterprises as this year’s “Restaurateur of the Year,” Harry Knowles of The Knowles Restaurants with the “Deborah Roy-Dowdell Lifetime Achievement Award,” Robert Cooper of Chefs International and Robert Scerbo of The Exchange as this year’s “Gold Plate Award” winners.
“Our Annual Awards Gala is the primary event of the year where we all gather as one to celebrate our industry and its importance to New Jersey’s economy, no matter how great or rough the year has been,” said Marilou Halvorsen, President of the New Jersey Restaurant Association. “Metaphorically speaking, we remove our aprons, put down our wooden spoons and just have a great time.”
The New Jersey Restaurant Association represents the Garden State's 25,000 eating and drinking establishments, which generate $14.2 billion in annual sales and employ over 318,000 people. The restaurant industry is the state’s largest employer, not accounting for the multitude of small to large local businesses that thrive and rely on it. In the past two years the industry has been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and legislative changes that have strained many restaurateurs; namely a 15% minimum wage hike, pending paid sick leave legislation and the cost and confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act mandates. The Annual Awards Gala tosses all these concerns aside and encourages everyone to have fun.
“Winter Wonderland” is this year’s Gala theme with snowflakes, frosty cocktails and blue and white décor gracing the night’s event. Music, dancing as well as giveaways will add even more excitement and fun to the evening.
“The Merion is a perfect location to host this year’s Annual Awards Gala although traditionally the event has been held in central or northern Jersey. We felt it was important to show our support to South Jersey this time,” said Lucie Delcuvellerie, Events Manager for the NJRA. “Parking is plentiful and there are many hotels nearby for people who want to make a complete evening out of it. Our partner, Hotel ML in Mount Laurel, will be running a shuttle for our guests between The Merion and the hotel,” she added.
For more information, tickets, journal ads, sponsorships or table purchases, please call the NJRA's headquarters at (609) 599-3316.