Winners will be revealed during the 2023 Texas Restaurant Awards ceremony, Sunday, July 9, 2023.  The anticipated celebration kicks off the Texas Restaurant Foundation’s (TRF) annual Lone Star Bash during the Texas Restaurant Show, which takes place July 7-10, 2023, at George R. Brown Convention Center, in Houston, Texas. The Texas Restaurant Show, is the largest industry trade show and educational conference in the southwestern United States and regularly attracts more than 5,000 attendees.

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The TRA is the nation’s largest restaurant association and represents the state’s $87 billion restaurant industry, which encompasses more than 53,000 locations and a workforce of over 1.3 million employees. For more than 30 years, the TRA Awards are coveted by the state’s hospitality leaders. Three new awards have been introduced for 2023:




Innovation in Education Award

New for this year, the Innovation in Education Award serves to recognize individuals, groups or organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to innovation and excellence in the field of culinary and hospitality education. The Award is a celebration of those who have dedicated themselves to improving the education experience for both students and teachers and demonstrated a willingness to push boundaries in order to support the preparation of our workforce.

2023 Awardee: McAllen ISD, S.T.R.I.D.E.S. Program

Excellence in Journalism Award

Also new for this year, the Excellence in Journalism Award recognizes work in media and journalism that goes above and beyond to promote the restaurant and foodservice industry as well as provide insight into how our industry functions and the issues facing operators. We proudly recognize the hard work and dedication of journalists and/or organizations who strive to inform and educate the public while upholding the highest journalistic standards.

2023 Awardee: Pat Sharpe, Executive Editor, Texas Monthly 

Restaurant Industry Champion Award

The TRA is introducing the Restaurant Industry Champion Award this year to celebrate policymakers, organizations and individuals who go above and beyond to protect and strengthen Texas’ restaurant industry. Recipients will be selected on the basis of their service and the exceptional impact they’ve had on the laws, regulations, and business environment that empower restaurants to serve their communities. 

2023 Awardee: Will be announced at the Awards.

Rising Star Award

This award recognizes the hard work that goes into opening a restaurant. This person or concept is an up-and-comer with ambitious goals and the grit to achieve them. Open to restaurant owners and chefs with a restaurant business which opened no later than the award year: January 1, 2023.

2023 Nominees:

Chapter Nominee Restaurant/Organization
Panhandle Rory Schepisi
The Drunken Oyster & Savor  
Greater Dallas Toby Archibald Quarter Acre
Greater Dallas Preston Nguyen   The Culinary Code 


  • 2022: Christian Dortch, Georgie by Curtis Stone (Dallas)
  • 2021: Harlan Scott, Industry (San Marcos)

Deep in the Heart Award

Texas is massive and filled with amazing talent. This award is designed to highlight those successful and creative restaurant owners and chefs with concepts not located in one of the big four metro areas (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, or Austin).

2023 Nominees: 
Chapter Nominee Restaurant/Organization
Waco Alex Dang & Thao Nguyen   Sugar Spice
Amarillo Bobby & Danny Lee The Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery  
Marble Falls   John & Belinda Kemper Blue Bonnet Café 

  • 2022: Norma Frances "Tootsie" Tomanetz, Snow's BBQ (Lexington)
  • 2021: Sanif Maredia, MESS Waffles (College Station)

Community Impact Award

The TRA’s Inaugural Community Impact Award is awarded to a nominee who is an active member of the TRA who has a demonstrated legacy of uniting and empowering their community. Community may be defined in many different ways to reflect the tremendous diversity within our industry, including race, religion, gender, sexuality, veteran, culture, and more.  

2023 Nominees:
Chapter Nominee Restaurant/Organization
Greater Houston   Chris Shepherd Southern Smoke Foundation   
Greater Dallas Chad Houser Café Momentum
San Antonio Johnny Hernandez   Kitchen Campus

  • 2022: Ruth Thompson, Hugs Cafe (McKinney)

Outstanding Restaurateur Award

Every year, restaurateurs around the state are honored for work in their communities, leadership success, and entrepreneurial spirit. Winners of the Outstanding Restaurateur Award are recognized during Lone Star Bash ft. the Texas Restaurant Awards event. The finalists for this award come from the pool of Outstanding Restaurateur Awards, chosen by their chapter. 

2023 Nominees:

Chapter Restaurateur of the Year Restaurant
Abilene Amanda O'Connor  Cypress Street Station Restaurant 
Brazos Valley  Mary Beckham  Admiral Catering 
Coastal Bend Glenn Mier Black Sheep Bistro, The Angry Marlin  
East Texas Paul Bambrey Jalapeno Tree
El Paso Vanessa Duran L&J Cafe
Galveston Chef Megan Walker Galveston Restaurant Group
Greater Austin Travis Tober Nickel City
Greater Dallas Hiawatha Williams  Williams Chicken
Greater Houston Janice Jucker  3 Brothers Bakery
Lubbock  Carrie Britton  The Funky Door 
Montgomery County   Jim Hallers Citizens Grill
North Texas Craig Bolles Texas Roadhouse
Panhandle Chef Jessica Higgins  Girasol Bakery & Cafe
Permian Basin Amber Davis Cork & Pig Tavern, Red Oak Kitchen
Rio Grande Valley Russell Walker Pasta Ventures
Sabine Area Min Dai Obana Restaurant Group
San Angelo Yolanda Franco Western Sky Steakhouse
San Antonio Blanca Aldaco Aldaco's Mexican Cuisine
Tarrant County Marcus Paslay From Scratch Hospitality
Waco Phillip Helberg Helberg Barbecue



Past Winners

2022 Outstanding Restaurateur Winner: 

Alli Jarrett, Harold's Restaurant (Houston)

2022 Chapter Winners: 

Abilene Chapter — Lindsay Flores, Lytle Land & Cattle Company
Brazos Valley Chapter — Clayton Rhoades, Chicken Express
Coastal Bend Chapter — Sam Canavati, Brewsters Street Ice House
El Paso Chapter — Jim Diaz, Pelican's Steak & Seafood
Galveston Chapter — Dennis Byrd, Island Famous
Greater Austin Chapter — Alex Eagle, Freebirds World Burrito
Greater Dallas Chapter — Christopher Aslam, Rock Strategic Restaurant Group
Greater Houston Chapter — Alli Jarrett, Harold's Restaurant
Lubbock Chapter — Jerol Fanta, Orlando's Italian Restaurant
Montgomery County Chapter — Darin McKenzie, McKenzie's Barbecue & Burgers
North Texas Chapter — Bob Bratcher, Daddy Bob's Smokewagon
Panhandle Chapter — Dallas Hager, Joe Taco
Permian Basin Chapter — Michael Ramirez, 10 Sports Bar & Grill
Rio Grande Valley Chapter — Sony Rego, Santa Fe Steakhouse
Sabine Area Chapter — Frankie Randazzo, Madison's Group
San Angelo Chapter — Ronnie Cajas, Street Eats
San Antonio Chapter — Dave Saylor, Acadiana Café
Tarrant County Chapter — Rena Frost, Mac's on Main
Waco Chapter — Massimo Di Campli, Di Campli's Italian Ristorante

2021 Winner of the Texas Restaurateur of the Year Award:

Masroor Fatany, The Halal Guys (Houston)

2021 Outstanding Restaurateur Award Winners:

  • Luis and Rita Barragan (Casa Chapala – Austin)
  • May Nardone (Mikel May’s Beachside Bar and Grill – Coastal Bend)
  • Lloyd Nichols (The Diner – East Texas)
  • Mike Dean (Yaga’s Presents – Galveston)
  • Jimmy Contreras (Taco y Vino – Dallas)
  • Bob Bratcher (Daddy Bob’s BBQ – North Texas)
  • Jessica Delgado (Salome – Rio Grande Valley)
  • Rosa Hogeda Torrez (Original Henry’s Diner – San Angelo)
  • Russell Kirkpatrick (Reata – Tarrant County)
  • Chris Berry (River Smith’s – Lubbock)


  • Richard Dewitt Jr.
    Clear Springs Restaurant, East Texas Chapter
  • Jerry Maddox
    Fazoli's, Rio Grande Valley Chapter
  • Yolanda Franco
    Western Sky Steakhouse, San Angelo Chapter
  • Chris Berry
    River Smith's, Lubbock Chapter
  • Ed Hudson
    Jason's Deli, Coastal Bend Chapter
  • Tilman Fertitta
    Landry's,Greater Houston Restaurant Association


  • Tim Condon
    Lonestar Cheeseburger Company
    Angry Cactus West Texas Bar & Grill
    San Angelo
  • Larry Delgado
    house. wine. & bistro.
    SALT – New American Table
    McAllen - Rio Grande Chapter
  • Andrew Gugar
    Posadas Cafe
    East Texas
  • Kendall Howard
    Howard Restaurant Group
  • Doris and Paul Miller
    Gr8 Plate Hospitality
    Greater Houston


  • Sharon Watkins
    Chez Zee American Bistro | Austin
  • Damian and Trina Mandola
    Mandola’s | Austin
  • Janice Provost
    Parigi | Dallas
  • Aaron Lyons
    Dish Society | Houston
  • Mike Van Syckle
    Atomic Omelette and Grill | Rio Grande Valley
  • Phil Bradley
    Copper Caboose | Lubbock
  • Erik Zobel and Je’na Wall (posthumous)
    Zero One Ale House | San Angelo
  • Brian Kelleher
    575 Pizzeria | Amarillo
  • Arthur Garcia
    Nicha’s Comida Mexicana | San Antonio
  • Veronica Segovia Esparza
    Absolutely Delicious Catering and Blanco BBQ | San Antonio

Hall of Honor

A long-standing Texas Restaurant Association tradition, outstanding individuals are inducted to the Hall of Honor each year to recognize their significant contribution to the Texas restaurant industry and to the association. This honor is the highest that the Association can bestow. To qualify, nominees must have a minimum of 15 years of TRA membership and exemplify superior business ethics. Criteria include significant time and energy devoted to the benefit of TRA and its members, as well as his or her local chapter. Nominees must also gain proper recognition for the restaurant industry and help to build a positive image.

2023 Hall of Honor Inductees:

  • Cappy Lawton, Cappy's Restaurant, San Antonio
  • Jerry Morales, Mulberry Cafe, Midland


Past Winners





Read the press release on our 2019 Hall of Honor Nominees








  • Gerard Cace
  • Carmelo Mauro, Houston
  • Tom Kenney, Austin


  • Malcolm DeShields, Corpus Christi
  • Ed Murph, Carrollton
  • Ralph Sheffield, Temple


  • Harvey Kloesel, Moulton
  • Raul Molina, Jr., Houston
  • Betty Zentner, San Angelo


  • Viola Barrios
  • Richie Jackson, Austin
  • Don Pittman


  • Bruce Walcutt
  • Jim Baron, Dallas


  • Richard Galvan, Frisco
  • Francisco "Paco" Vargas, Galveston
  • Gerald Stone, Austin


  • Anthony Duncan, El Paso
  • Tom Perini, Buffalo Gap
  • Peggy Scott, Fort Worth


  • Earl Abel, Jr.,
  • Bob Barnes, Granbury


  • Bill Daniel, Wichita Falls
  • Brad Lomax, Corpus Christi
  • Gene Street, Dallas


  • George W. DeWinne, San Antonio
  • Ernie Stith, Longview


  • Hope Garcia Lancarte, Fort Worth
  • Christopher J. Pappas, Houston


  • Bobby D. Cox, Fort Worth
  • Matt G. Martinez, Jr.,


  • Larry Forehand, Bellaire
  • Chris Semos


  • W. H. “Bill” Cromer
  • Dick Dozier


  • A. J. Leger
  • Hans Nadler, San Antonio
  • Beatrice Trevino, Victoria


  • David Cortez, San Antonio
  • W. O. “Ted” Thedford


  • Norman Brinker, Dallas
  • Larry D. Durrett, Jacksonville
  • Frank L. Smith


  • Michael Colias
    John K. Miller, San Antonio


  • C. “Gus” Katsigris, Dallas
  • Mary Levy, Waco
  • Jack C. Richmond, San Antonio


  • Sonny Bryan
  • Frank Green, Stephenville
  • Robert Hawk, Rockwall
  • Gus Keriotis
  • Robert Levy


  • Herb Blankinship, Midland
  • William Horan, Fort Worth
  • Earl Mayfield, San Antonio
  • Milton Neitsch, Jr., Victoria


  • Frank Cuellar, Sr.
  • Dee Haven, Corpus Christi
  • Bob Lee
  • Miguel Martinez


  • Gertrude Applebaum, Elkins Park
  • Rosemary Garbett, Houston
  • Macky Sellers
  • Albert Totah, Victoria


  • Earl Abel, Sr.
  • H.M. “Bill” Bennett
  • Louis Hochman
  • Guy T. Jones
  • Jim L. Peterson, Mooreseville


  • Fred W. Dollar
  • Carolyn Weldon Goodman
  • B. J. Kirby
  • Balous Miller, San Antonio
  • Method Snapka


  • Bruce Allred
  • Jack Bell
  • W. Leroy Daniel
  • Matt Martinez, Sr.
  • Jack Sosebee
  • Samuel Tschirhart, Sr., Castroville
  • C.A. Sanford, Jr., Fort Worth


  • Harry Akin
  • Guillermo Avila, El Paso
  • Robert R. Horan
  • Bill McCoy
  • A.G. Moncla
  • John E. Sohrweide
  • Andrew F. Stasio


  • Roy Blankenship, DeKalb
  • Pete V. Cortez
  • Charles W. Horan, Jr.
  • Alfred Kahn
  • Lucas N. Postolos
  • Giles D. Spiller


  • John S. Cace, Jr.
  • Mack Eplen
  • Leon Gillespie
  • Charles Goodnight
  • Carlo S. Messina
  • Lynon Owens
  • Victor J. Patrizi


  • G. Jim Hasslocher, San Antonio
  • Charles W. Horan, Sr.
  • I. Tom Katz
  • Charles Langford
  • G. D. “Sonny” Look
  • Harry F. Porter
  • George W. Williams


  • Patrick D. Moreland
  • W. Price, Jr.

1937 Founders

  • Victor Colias
  • Mr. and Mrs. Dave Crowder
  • T. C. Daniel | W. C. Dunton
  • V. A. Harrison
  • J. D. Houston
  • Sim T. Lake
  • R. C. Lawler
  • V. H. Osborn | Earl Smith

Texas Restaurant Foundation Chef Tim Kelly Educator Excellence

Texas ProStart instructors who demonstrate leadership and excellence in culinary education are eligible to contend for the annual Educator Excellence Award. Teachers must be advocates of the Texas ProStart program and dedicated to helping students achieve success.

2023 Honoree: Cheryll Harris, Emmett J. Conrad High School

Awarded to educators who have made significant contributions in the classroom and beyond, the award package includes the following:
  • $1000 cash prize 
  • Complimentary registration to the Culinary Educators Training Conference 
  • 2 tickets to the Texas Restaurant Show 
  • 2 tickets to Texas Restaurant Awards & Lone Star Bash 
  • One-night hotel stay at the Texas Restaurant Show 
  • The winner will go on to represent Texas at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Educator Excellence Awards Dinner in Chicago. Students, colleagues, parents and community members are welcome to nominate deserving teachers.

2022 Honoree: Chef Tyler Kent Osburn "Chef TKO", Waller High School

The Carmelo Mauro SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY Award

The Carmelo Mauro Award is an annual recognition, given by the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF), for outstanding achievement by an individual philanthropist who has demonstrated the highest ethical standards, commitment, dedication and talent towards the future of the restaurant and foodservice industry.

Prior Recipients of the Carmelo Award:

  • 2022 - Patrick Costello, St. Philip's College (San Antonio)
  • 2021 - Skeeter Miller, County Line BBQ (Austin)
  • 2019 – Roger Kaplan, RK Innovations
  • 2018 – Russell Woodward, Texas Beef Council 
  • 2017 – Russel Ybarra 
  • 2016 – Margaret McKoin, The Time Group 
  • 2016 – Carmelo Mauro, Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano 

Award Criteria

  • Must have a record of distinguished service to the TRF; 
  • Must have made a lasting contribution to the restaurant and foodservice industry and the mission of the TRF; 
  • Must have exhibited leadership and provided inspiration to others in the restaurant and foodservice industry; 
  • Must have positively influenced the restaurant and foodservice industry on a state, national or international level. 

Nomination Process

The Carmelo Award will be presented to the recipient during the Texas Restaurant Awards. Nominees should be cleared to attend the event prior to submitting their name for the award.

For questions regarding the Carmelo Award or the nomination process, contact Susan Petty, Chief of Staff, at [email protected] .