TRA Announces Winners of Texas Restaurant Awards: COVID-19

Aug 31
COVID-19 award winners

On August 20, during Virtual TRA Marketplace, the Texas Restaurant Association acknowledged the efforts of hardworking restaurateurs with the first Texas Restaurant Awards: COVID-19. We congratulate the below winners for their efforts, and thank them for their hard work!

Service Award: Marty B's (Bartonville)
Sponsored by Ben E. Keith

“Marty has gone over and above to make sure he was using any resource to give back to charities. He gave away thousands of dollars to help feed folks that didn’t have any food. Every week he would give food to the hungry and put together a fundraiser for a local charity. He also kept 100% of his employees on the payroll since the pandemic started. I’ve never met a restaurant operator that cares more about his employees and the community as much as Marty.”

"We are honored to be recognized by the Texas Restaurant Association for our commitment to serving our community. We are blessed at Marty B’s with an Amazing team and are proud to support our local area. We have a heart for hospitality and are super proud of this award!"
-Marty Bryan

People Award: Maple Leaf Diner (Dallas)

Maple Leaf Diner was nominated for this award seven different times. While the quantity of nominations was not important, the quality of reasons why they were nominated was. Here are selections from the application that led to Maple Leaf Diner being chosen as the People Award winner:
“Not one time have they dropped the ball on making sure every single employee is on their feet, fed, and happy.”
“From day one of the COVID threat they went above and beyond. When they chose to shut down for a few weeks to protect their employees, Mike kept his food deliveries coming to the restaurant. He would call the staff to the restaurant and provide them with fresh meat, produce, bread, and eggs to help their families. He paid his employees until unemployment started. This has been devastating for everyone, he has truly worked to ensure the best has been done for everyone involved during this difficult time.” 
“Even though the business has suffered he’s gone out of his way so that his employees don’t have to.” 

"Thank you first of all to the Texas Restaurant Association for shining a ray of light with this award amidst this time of great difficulty for restaurant owners.  It’s difficult to put into words how amazing it is to have such a dedicated staff that would nominate me for this award.  Without my employees I know I would not be successful and I’ve been blessed with THE best staff so I’m confident we’ll make it through this difficult time and be in the weeds together again soon enough."  
-Mike Delaurier


Innovation Award: EVO Cinemas (Kyle, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Austin)
Sponsored by Coca Cola Southwest Beverages

Since the Pandemic hit, Mitchell has kept all 900 employees on the payroll even with most of his locations shuttered.  He used these employees to build a fantastic grocery and meal kit delivery service for the surrounding communities.  One of his best sellers was a family movie kit including popcorn, movie candies and a gallon of soda so families could have the EVO movie experience at home.
His next task was to build an outdoor drive-in experience at multiple locations which provided the community a place to come and get out of the house and enjoy the movies for FREE.  In late May/early June, he provided these drive-in locations to any local schools who wanted to use them for graduations, and doing all of this for free. Check out more information at

Thank you to everyone who nominated these deserving individuals. We are so proud of our industry!
A special thank you to our sponsors: 


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