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MN Restaurant Association Announces 2015 Award Winners

Jacob Toledo and Brent Frederick, founders of Jester Concepts, are the MRA's Restaurateurs of the Year.

Brent Frederick and Jacob Toledo are among the 2015 honorees who will be recognized by the Minnesota Restaurant Association during its annual awards gala Monday, November 23.

Frederick and Toledo’s Jester Concepts is the company behind noted Minneapolis restaurants such as Borough and Parlour, Coup d’etat, and Monello, and the two are receiving the Restaurateurs of the Year award. This award is given to individuals who exemplify professionalism, innovation, leadership, and community involvement.

Other honorees include:

Restaurant of the Year: The Freehouse, Minneapolis (Part of Blue Plate Restaurant Co.)

This award is given to a restaurant that has made an impact on the industry as a new restaurant, made a significant turnaround as an existing restaurant, or is the model of stability for others to follow.

Allied Vendor of the Year: Jackson Lewis P.C.

This is an Allied (vendor) member of the MRA who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the industry and community.

Legislative Advocate of the Year: Molly Broder, Broders' Pasta Bar, Minneapolis

This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary dedication in the advancement of the MRA’s legislative issues.

Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame: John Schumacher and Jim Jennings

This award is given to a restaurant operator with more than 20 years of experience and who is deemed a legend in the industry.

John Schumacher purchased the deteriorated Broz Hotel in New Prague in 1974, transforming it into Schumacher’s Hotel and Restaurant, which he ran with his wife Kathleen until 2005. He reopened the hotel in October 2009, adding a new restaurant called Grill 212. Both the hotel and restaurant closed for good in 2011. Schumacher attended the baking school at Dunwoody Institute and was later a cook aboard a Navy submarine. Following his military service, he attended the Culinary Institute of America and earned an associates degree with high honors.

Jim Jennings opened his first restaurant, Jennings Red Coach Inn, in 1963. Over the years, he added other restaurants, including three locations of Timothy O'Toole's Pub, a Ground Round (which later became JJ's Clubhouse), Gipper's All American Sports Bar and Grill, and Scoreboard Bar & Grill. Three of Jennings' restaurants still operate today while Jennings Red Coach Inn and Timothy O'Toole's Pub were lost to eminent domain in 1999 when St. Louis Park redeveloped the Excelsior Boulevard neighborhood. Jennings is a World War II vet and, at the age of 92, he can still be found at one of his restaurants virtually every day.

New awards being introduced this year and their honorees are:

Faces of Diversity Award: Enrique Salazar, La Loma Tamales, Twin Cities

Given to an individual in the industry who has realized the “American Dream” through hard work, determination and enterprise.

Restaurant Sustainability Award: Highland Grill, St. Paul (Part of Blue Plate Restaurant Co.)

Given to a restaurant or individual that provides great food and service while also being a good steward of our environment and employs practices that are exemplary of long term sustainability.

ProStart Minnesota Educator of Excellence: Monique Sabby, Elk River High School

Presented by the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation in the spring; the teacher will be recognized at the MRA awards gala.

Registration is open for the awards gala and dinner Monday, November 23, from 6:30–9 p.m. at Seven Steakhouse Sushi Ultralounge Skybar in Minneapolis (700 Hennepin Avenue). For more information and to register click HERE.

This is an invitation-only, industry event.

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