(Sacramento, CA) – Five California-based companies are being recognized as the state’s winners of the 2018 Restaurant Neighbor Award, the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF) announced today. The Restaurant Neighbor Award celebrates the outstanding charitable service performed by restaurant operators throughout the U.S. This award recognizes the impact restaurants and entrepreneurs have made on their local communities. Nationwide, restaurants’ charitable contributions are estimated to be up to $3 billion annually, and more than nine out of 10 restaurants are actively involved in community service.

The recipients of the California awards are:

  • Kyles’ Kitchen, Santa Barbara
  • Hofman Hospitality Group, Long Beach
  • Old Town Family Hospitality Group, San Diego
  • Bravo’s Soup and Sandwich Shoppe, Elk Grove
  • Red Robin, Southern California Region

The winners will be recognized at the California Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Day at the Capitol on April 24.

“In California we have the privilege of working with the best restaurant and hospitality companies,” CRAF Executive Director Alycia Harshfield said. “All of these companies have a profound impact on the local communities that they serve, and we are honored to acknowledge their contributions in this way.”

The Winners

Kyle’s Kitchen (Santa Barbara): The entire inspiration behind Kyle’s Kitchen, founded by Deena and Jay Ferro, was to have an outlet that could provide a portion of its profits to local special needs organizations. Through their work at the restaurant, Deena and Jay honor their own struggles and perseverance raising a special needs son. Each month is dedicated to a new cause within the special needs community, and since its opening in 2015, they’ve donated more than $100,000.

Hofman Hospitality Group (Long Beach): The four concepts in this group are: Hof’s Hut, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Mighty Kitchen, and Saint & Second. It would be impossible to list each and every last contribution that Hofman Hospitality Group makes to their communities, but some of the highlights are: raising $15,000 toward Holiday Meals for Military Families; 10 years of partnership with Season of Giving; and a recent campaign that generated more than $20,000 for Autism Speaks. All of this effort culminated in charitable contributions totaling more than $150,000 in 2017 alone.

Old Town Family Hospitality Group (San Diego): Since its inception in 2009, Old Town Family Hospitality Group which operates under the name Fiesta De Reyes and is led by Chuck and Gail Ross, has been highly active in the community with its many concepts. Over the course of four years, more than $66,000 has been directed by their three restaurants to living history programs in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park through Round It Up America alone. In addition, over the last seven years, in-kind support of community groups has amounted to more than $99,000 in meals and material to support fundraising efforts and programs as well as more than $350,000 in direct sponsorships and community program support.

Bravo’s Soup and Sandwich Shoppe (Elk Grove): Bravo’s helps the community in many ways, including by supporting local school and Girl Scout projects, sponsorships of local sporting teams, feeding the homeless, and helping the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Not only do these generous contributions impact those they serve, but also those who do the serving. Jim and Lisa Brown, the owners of Bravo’s, believe that helping others can profoundly affect the person giving the help. The highlight of all of their charitable events is their Sunday Supper at the Ranch, an annual event on its 4th year that raised $15,000 for their chosen benefactor. Jim & Lisa Brown’s activism doesn’t stop there – Jim sits on the board for the Sacramento Chapter of the CRA, and they both volunteer in the culinary classroom via CRAF.

Red Robin (Southern California Region): Embracing their “B.U.R.G.E.R.” philosophy (Bottomless Fun, Unwavering Integrity, Relentless Focus on Improvement, Genuine Spirit of Service, Extraordinary People and Recognized Burger Authority), the Red Robin team supports Calicinto Ranch/HomeAid annually.  They serve the only holiday meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas that the participants of Calicinto Ranch will receive, feeding up to 1,000 hungry mouths. On the weekends throughout the year, you’ll also catch them cooking for the homeless through HomeAid and raising clothing and food donations for them as well; both of these efforts total up to 4,000 meals per year and sometimes more.

About the California Restaurant Association Foundation: a non-profit that empowers and invests in California’s current and future restaurant workforce. Founded in 1981, CRAF supports the restaurant community through emergency assistance grants for restaurant workers facing a hardship, job and life skills training for 9,000 high school students each year, and scholarships.