The Long Beach Hospitality Alliance (LBHA) has announced the 2017 nominees for its first-ever Hospitality Awards Dinner, set to take place Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at Hotel Maya.


Nearly 160 nominations were submitted during the month of July, 2017 in 13 special recognition categories and were reviewed by four judges: Program Director and Professor of Hospitality Management at Cal State Long Beach Lee Blecher, Grunion Gazette Publisher Simon Grieve, OC Weekly restaurant writer Sarah Bennett and constituency development coordinator at Mental Health America’s Long Beach chapter Rhonda Schultz.

The winners of each category were announced during the awards dinner, joined by Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilmembers Suzie Price, Stacy Mungo and Daryl Supernaw. Attendees bid during a silent auction benefitting Mental Health America’s Long Beach chapter, entertainment was provided by local duo Queen Califia and the event was emceed by the publisher of Long Beach TravelHost Magazine, Dan Lipton.




The nominees for the 2017 awards were (in no particular order):


Rising Star Award

Evelyn Garcia, Lounge Server/Bartender, Hilton Long Beach
Kimberly Gros, Founder, SteelCraft
Alexis Amato, Senior Sales Manager, Hotel Maya
William ‘Ki’ Realer, Bartender, Hilton Long Beach
Taylor Roll, Senior Corporate Manager, Hotel Maya


Unsung Hero Award

Jimmy Hannon, Pro-Shop Manager, Rec-9 Golf Course
Rafael Sanchez, Banquet Server, Hyatt Regency
Miguel Albar, Bellperson/Driver, Hilton Long Beach
Karen Flores, Front Desk Agent, Hilton Long Beach
Jackie Melin, Server, Fuego at Hotel Maya


Beyond the Call of Duty

Richard Grimaldo, Director of Facilities, Hyatt Centric The Pike
Alfonso Idio, Laundry Attendant, Hilton Long Beach
Jackie Melin, Server, Hotel Maya
Jonathan Brown, Accounts Payable Clerk, Westin Long Beach
Scott Fisher, Sommelier, L’Opera


Lifetime Achievement

Javier Becerra, Room Service Server, Hyatt Regency
Athena Quesada, Operator, Hilton Long Beach
John Morris, Manager/Partner, Boathouse on the Bay
Terrence Antonelli, Owner, L’Opera
Raquel Jubran , Executive Chef/Partner, Lasher’s Kitchen


Community Spirit Award

Visoth Ouk ‘Chef T’, The Federal Bar
Dana & Paul Buchanan, Owners, Primal Alchemy Catering
Marcos Benavidez, General Manager, Elise’s Tea Room
Eric Johnson, Owner, Legend’s Sports Bar
Alison DeBorba, Convention Services Manager, Hotel Maya


Sustainability Award

Salud Juice
SteelCraft/Howard CDM


Hotel Award

Hotel Maya
Renaissance Long Beach
Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Downtown


Restaurant Award

Parkers’ Lighthouse
Boathouse on the Bay
Michael’s On Naples
L’Opera Ristorante
James Republic


Entrepreneur Award

Kimberly Gros, Founder, SteelCraft
Layla Ali-Ahmed, Founder, Beach City Food Tours
Aaron Tofani, Restaurateur, Rance’s Pizza
Ray & Lynn Lasher, Owners, Lasher’s Kitchen


Special Event Award

Dine Out Long Beach, Restaurant Week 2.0
Belmont Shore Business Association, Stroll & Savor
L’Opera Ristorante c/o Nicole and Justine, Private Dining & Events
SteelCraft, 2017 Summer Series
Level Events, Modern Speakeasy at Hotel Maya


Innovation in Hospitality

Carrie Arnold, Marketing, Schwag App
Kimberly Gros, Founder, SteelCraft
Terry Antonelli, Restaurateur, L’Opera
Jaratporn Sungkamee, Restaurateur, Spicy Sugar


Supplier Award

Level Entertainment c/o Taylor Gunnin
Stephanie Linens c/o Lorena Ruiz
PSAV c/o Michael Fraitag


Housekeeping Award

Hortencia Gutierrez Hilton Long Beach
Maria Torres, Hilton Long Beach
Gloria Jimenez, Hilton Long Beach
Elizabeth Miguel, Hilton Long Beach
Lupe Serrano, Renaissance Long Beach