Three Auburn-Opelika Hospitality Professionals Named Stars of the Industry

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Pictured right: ARHA Chef of the Year Scott Simpson, of the Depot in Auburn. photo used with permission

CONTRIBUTED BY A-O TOURISM

The winners of the 2021 Stars of the Industry Awards were announced Monday, Nov. 8, at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook in Birmingham. Three Auburn-Opelika hospitality professionals won awards including Kelley Land of Ariccia Cucina Italiana (Front of the House Restaurant Employee of the Year), Heather Tuten of The Depot (Restaurant Manager of the Year) and Scott Simpson of The Depot (Chef of the Year).

 The Stars of the Industry is the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association’s (ARHA) annual awards dinner honoring the restaurant, lodging and tourism industry. The Stars awards are peer-nominated, and winners were selected by the Stars committee and ARHA’s board of directors. There were over 110 nominations submitted statewide and the winners in each of the 18 categories were presented with trophies by the ARHA Chairman, Bob Omainsky.

“The Stars awards dinner is our chance to recognize those who have demonstrated excellence and serve as an inspiration to others in the restaurant and hotel industry and our community,” said Mindy B. Hanan, president and CEO of the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association. “On behalf of ARHA, I am proud of the members we have and the outstanding accomplishments they make day in and day out.”

The winners in each category are as follows:

Excellence in Government Award:

Senator Dan Roberts – R-AL, District 15

Front of the House Hospitality Employee of the Year:

Alex Burton – Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

Front of the House Restaurant Employees of the Year:

Kelley Land – Ariccia Cucina Italiana (The Hotel at Auburn University)

Back of the House Hospitality Employee of the Year:

Suzanne Bolton – Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa (Florence)

Back of the House Restaurant Employee of the Year:

Miranda Greene – Manci’s Antique Club (Daphne)

Hospitality Department Manager of the Year:

Taylor Liles – Hotel Indigo Tuscaloosa Downtown

Restaurant Manager of the Year:

Heather Tuten – The Depot (Auburn)

Humanitarian Award:

Matt Hood – Hotel Capstone Tuscaloosa

Tourism Promoter of the Year:

Keely Law – Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa (Florence)    

Bartender of the Year:

Nick Ware – Lower Lounge (Montgomery)

Best New Culinarian of the Year:

Chris Moore – The Yard at Elyton Hotel (Birmingham)

Chef of the Year:

Scott Simpson – The Depot (Auburn)

Supplier of the Year:

Clayton Taylor – Alabama Insurance Exchange, Inc. 

Small Hotelier of the Year:

Toby Wilson – Wilson Hospitality Management, Inc. (Tuscaloosa)

Hotelier of the Year:

Andrew Dorough – Crescent Hotels & Resorts (The Westin Hunstville)

Restaurateur of the Year:

Jud Blount – Vintage Hospitality Group (Montgomery)

Spirit Award:

Allen Honeycutt – Squid Ink Eclectic Eats and Drinks (Mobile)

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Herb Malone – Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

For more information about ARHA, visit www.arhaonline.com/.

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