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The 2010 National Foodservice Beef Backer Award winners include The Hitching Post I & II (Buellton, Calif.) in the Independent Restaurant category; Home Style Dining LLC Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses (Plano, Texas) in the Chain Restaurant category; and Red The Steakhouse (Miami, Fla.) as Innovator of the Year.
The winners were announced during the annual Cattle Industry Conference in Denver, Colo. Each year, three restaurants are recognized for their efforts in menuing and marketing beef.
"Industry reports show beef dollar sales are up 10 percent. Thanks to foodservice professionals' creativity and passion for our product, beef has not only gained sales momentum, but also remains at the ahead of new menu trends," said Iowa cattleman Scott McGregor, chairman of the Joint Foodservice Committee. "It is important that we recognize and thank establishments that are providing outstanding beef-eating experiences away from home."
Owner and manager Frank Ostini accepted the award for the Independent Restaurant category on behalf of his family's restaurants, The Hitching Post I and II. "Our restaurants have been serving patrons high-quality beef for almost 60 years," he said. "Dedication to tradition and attention to preparation make our steaks truly exceptional. By using both old and new methods of beef preparation we have developed an exciting menu which is uniquely our own."
On behalf of the Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse restaurant chain, Homestyle Dining LLC was presented with the Chain Restaurant award. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Homestyle Dining LLC and its affiliated companies own, operate and franchise Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses throughout the United States and around the world, continuing a tradition of family-focused steakhouses that began in 1963. Over the past 48 years, the Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses chain has grown to more than 230 locations in 15 states and in six countries outside of the United States.
Accepting the Innovator of the Year title, Red The Steakhouse executive chef Peter Vauthy said, "We like to think of beef as a partner in our business rather than just a product. We are so proud to be recognized for something that we consider an integral part of who we are as an operation." Vauthy attributed Red The Steakhouse's success to its cutting-edge menu and excellent quality ingredients.