Dining notes: Cornerstone Awards, Mexican restaurant chain coming to Bear

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The Delaware Restaurant Association will host the 19th Annual Restaurant Industry Cornerstone Awards on Monday, Oct. 18th at the Lighthouse Cove Events Center in Dewey Beach, with an after-party immediately following at The Lighthouse.

After a hiatus in 2020, restaurant owners, operators, chefs, vendors, elected officials, and industry supporters will again gather in person. for food and cocktails, beer and wine from 25 stations, plus live music from the 19th Street Band.

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Spotlighting this year’s event on October 18th will be the recognition of five  industry ‘Rising Stars.’

 “We are extremely excited to celebrate safely and together for this year’s Cornerstone Awards.  It is especially meaningful at a time when our restaurant community has been through so much, and worked so hard, over these past 19 months,” said Delaware Restaurant Association CEO Carrie Leishman. “Congratulations to our 2021 Rising Stars who have chosen to pursue their American Dream careers and who epitomize the incredible dedication and resiliency that our industry represents.”

In addition to honoring the industry ‘Rising Stars,’ the DRA will also unveil a special video tribute to current DRA Chairman of the Board Scott Kammerer of Sodel Concepts. Kammerer has served in the role of Chairman for a two-year term (2020- 2021).

Rising Stars

Olivia Brinton

Co-owner, Little Goat Coffee Roasting Co. / Peach Blossom Eatery (Newark)

Olivia grew up on a small farm picking strawberries and learning about foraging from her parents. Her coffee background along with bartender training at The House of William and Merry inspired Olivia to open the Little Goat Coffee Roasting Co (2017) and her newest venture, The Peach Blossom Eatery (slated to open in Fall 2021).

Christa Carlton

Executive Chef, Taverna (Newark)

Christa grew up surrounded by a big Italian family centered in the kitchen where she learned the love of cooking from her mother and grandfather. She followed her passion to study and earn degrees in both the culinary arts and food service management at her dream school, Johnson & Wales University. Within the last five years Christa has grown her love for Italian food at Taverna Rustic Italian on Main Street (part of the Platinum Dining Group), starting as a sous chef and working her way up to Executive Chef.

Jason Aviles

Co-Owner of Green Box Kitchen, Project Director of Wilmington Green Box (Wilmington)

Jason was recently named a Delaware Business Times top ‘40 under 40’ achiever and innovator, and has lead several social impact ventures in Wilmington to support the arts and culture, including Wilmington Green Box (WGB) that provides at-risk teens with entrepreneurial jobs while supplying urban communities with access to cold pressed juices, fresh produce and healthy goods. Most recently, Jason has expanded the Green Box Kitchen fast-casual plant-based restaurants to include multiple locations. 

Megan Kee

Owner, Megan Collective – includes La Fable / Dalmata Italiano / Houston White Co. / Bramble and Brine at the Buttery (slated to open fall 2021)  (Rehoboth Beach and Lewes)

Megan is a restaurateur and owner of Megan Collective, a boutique restaurant collection. Megan is the owner of three  restaurants in downtown Rehoboth Beach, and is expanding her culinary influence to downtown Lewes with a fall ’21 opening of the newest addition to her restaurant collection, Bramble and Brine at The Buttery.

Dru Tevis

Corporate Pastry Chef, Sodel Concepts (Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Ocean View, Lewes & Fenwick Island)

Dru decided not to pursue graduate film school and instead enrolled at the French Culinary Institute, receiving a Grand Diploma in Professional Pastry Arts and graduating as class valedictorian. In the fall of 2018 he accepted the position of Corporate Pastry Chef for SoDel Concepts and continues to lead and mentor pastry chefs at all Sodel locations.

More event information, including sponsorship opportunities, ticket links, and discounted overnight hotel stays can be found at delawarerestaurant.org/cornerstoneawards.

Plaza Azteca coming to Bear

A regional Mexican food chain is coming to Bear.

Plaza Azteca has put out a temporary sign at the former Ruby Tuesday’s off Routes 40 and 7  as work gets underway in remodeling the building.

Plaza Azteca got its start in Virginia Beach and now has about 40 restaurants along the East Coast in an area extending from Massachusetts to North Carolina.  Azteca has restaurants in Pennsylvania, including one in the Mexican dining hotspot of Kennett Square.

A peek at the menu indicates the usual offerings, along with the popular   California-Texas offering of guacamole prepared at your table.

The restaurant will have plenty of nearby competition ranging from taco trucks to the La Tonalteca chain and the long-running El Tapatio, across the highway in Eden Square shopping center.

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