We’re Pleased to Announce the 2023 Ordinary Award Finalists!

Attraction of the Year
Amazement Square
Virginia International Raceway
Winter Wander Trail of Lights

Charlie Buser Award for the Attraction Employee of the Year
Brian Trader (Lewis Ginter)
Gayle Jessup White (Monticello)
Kim Dove (Lewis Ginter)

Hospitality Hero – Business
The Boar’s Head Resort
Charlotte’s Southern Deli
Hampton Roads Transit
The National Conference Center

Hotel Employee of the Year
Aquila Darden (Hilton Richmond – SP)
Brad Jones (Hilton Richmond – SP)
Denia Hernadez (Residence Inn Arlington)
Frances Ojeda (Courtyard Marriott)

Jim Wordsworth Award for the
Restaurateur of the Year

David Saunders (Texas Inn)
Eric Martino (Culture Hospitality)
Jacques Haeringer (L’Auberge Chez Francois)

Restaurant Manager of the Year
Andrew Vaccella (Catch 31)
Dawn Lozano (Blue Pete’s)
Jose Luis Hernandez (Silver Diner)
Judy Sonifrank (Massanutten)

Bartender of the Year
Henry Hill (Hotel Roanoke)
Rachel Aloy (Catch 31)
Shawna Lambert (Massanutten)
Sina Toussy (Crafthouse)

Chef of the Year
Kevin Gilbert (Catch 31)
Leah Randolph (Dover Hall)
Mark Chang (Cookology Culinary School)
Matthew Bousquet (The Cliffton)

Hospitality Hero – Individual
Brian Wells (Hotel Roanoke)
Gunes Akdemir (Hyatt Crystal City)
Mark Hoshank (Westin VB Town Center)

Hotelier of the Year
Bruce Thompson
Nick Patel

Hotel Manager of the Year
Morgan Slade (Quirk)
Roberto Perez (Residence Inn Ballston)
Schuyler Clark (Craddock Terry)
Vanessa King (Four Points by Sheraton)

Restaurant of the Year
Catch 31
The Wine Kitchen
YROC Coastal Bar & Grill

Rising Pineapple Award for
Hospitality Student of the Year

Candacy Rodrigues (Metropolitan Culinary)
Vivian Ridgely (Retro Hospitality Intern)
Zarah King (Virginia Tech)

Campground of the Year
Anvil Campground
Jellystone Park Luray
Small County Campground

Distillery of the Year
Axe Handle Distilling
Tarnished Truth

Hotel of the Year
Boar’s Head Resort
The Watermark Hotel
Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles

Jim Ricketts Award for the
DMO Employee of the Year

Katherine O’Donnell (RRT)

Restaurant Employee of the Year
Edwin Lopez (L’Auberge Chez Francois)
Robert Tinsley (Dairy Market)
Smith Cubine (Catch 31)
Victor Guzman (Silver Diner)

Supplier of the Year
Capital Region Airport Commission
Discover Richmond Tours
Seasonal Connect

Supplier Employee of the Year
Daniel Rolander (Keany Produce)

Winery of the Year
Loving Cup Vineyard & Winery
Silver Hand Meadery

The 2023 Ordinary Awards will take place Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at the Marriott Downtown Richmond Hotel. This incredible event showcases the immense talent working across Virginia’s hospitality industry, and we understand that this is an important opportunity for our partners around the state. 

To help make the nomination process as seamless as possible, we’ve put together some resources on how you can make the most out of your application, the awards itself, and the earned media opportunities that come along with it! Here are a couple of frequently asked questions to help guide you through the nomination process:

Nomination Timeline:

Frequently Asked Questions:

The Ordinary Awards celebrate and honor all of Virginia’s restaurants, lodging establishments and hotels, DMOs, attractions, and more. They shine a light on the incredible restaurateurs, hoteliers, attractions, establishments, and employees that represent some of the best our industry has to offer. But there’s more than just a pat on the back and some hardware up for grabs! Here are some additional benefits from participating in the 2023 Ordinary Awards: 

    • Connect and network with industry colleagues and partners from across the state
    • Earned media opportunities for your organization/venue/business, as well as for your locality
    • Brand exposure and promotional opportunities leading up to, during, and after the event

Award Nominations are open to members and non-members of VRLTA.

Winners from the previous year (2022) are not eligible to submit a nomination for the same category in which they won. They may be submitted as a nomination for any other category.

There is no limit to the number of individuals that can be nominated; however, self-nominations are not allowed for individual awards. If you’re nominating more than one individual, separate nomination forms are required.

You are allowed to nominate the business/organization you are affiliated with for those relevant awards. 

The nomination timeline is outlined below: 

  • Nominations for the 2023 Ordinary Awards open on Monday, May 1st at 4:00 PM 
  • The deadline for nominations is Friday, August 11 at 5:00 PM.
  • Award finalists will be notified by email in September
  • The 2023 Ordinary Awards will take place Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at the Marriott Downtown Richmond Hotel.

Additional information on how to attend the event can be found here.

To nominate yourself, a peer, or a company for an award, please complete the official online nomination form. You’ll be asked to include the following information, so please make sure you have the following before beginning your nomination:
    • Name and contact information for yourself and your nominee.
    • The category for which you are submitting a nomination
    • A character statement (between 200-500 words) outlining what makes your nominee extraordinary
    • Up to five (5) supporting documents in support of your nominee.
    • Up to five (5) supporting photos/videos of your nominee to be used for awards marketing and presentation (JPEG, PNG, TIFF files accepted).

It’s difficult to paint a complete picture in under 500 words, so this is where you can help your nominee really shine. Your nomination should include supporting documents that bolster the credentials of your nominee. Here are a few ideas of what to include: 

    • A copy of your nominee’s resume or CV
    • Letters of recommendation
    • A collection of testimonials from customers, coworkers, or industry colleagues
    • Press coverage from your nominee
    • A collection of awards and/or accolades previously won by your nominee
    • Examples of your nominee’s previous work or projects

The Ordinary Awards and Awards finalists are heavily promoted leading up to, during, and after the event. To make the most out of the marketing and earned media efforts, it’s important that the supporting photos in your nomination are not only in high resolution, but compelling. Here are a few guidelines: 

    • A “hero image” for your nominee
        • For individuals, this means a recent, high-quality headshot.
        • For a business or organization, this means a property photo or identifying landmark
    • Images of your nominee “in action” (i.e. helping guests, on the job, training coworkers, etc.)
    • Images of your nominee at public-facing events (previous awards, ribbon cuttings, etc.)
    • Supporting elements key to your nominee’s success
        • For individuals, this could mean a property photo of where they work (hotel, restaurant, etc.)
        • For a business or organization, this could mean employees (head chef, manager, etc.) or community connections

Make Each Nomination Unique
If you’re submitting nominations for multiple awards, make sure each entry stands on its own merits. For example, if you plan to submit a nomination for Hotelier of the Year, Hotel Manager of the Year, Hotel Employee of the Year, and Hotel of the Year – try your best to include unique supporting documents for each entry as opposed to including a handful of general materials in all of them. 

Ensure All Supporting Documents are Easy to Ready
We would hate for one of our judges to miss something that was lost in translation. While press clippings and handwritten notes can be heartfelt and sentimental, scanned files or pictures of documents can be difficult to read. If there’s one you’d really like to include, consider attaching a typed transcription to the document as well!

If you there are any supporting materials you would like to submit hard copies of, you can mail them to the address below:

Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association
5101 Monument Ave, Suite 206
Richmond, VA, 23230

*All materials must be received by VRLTA prior to the submission deadline of August 31. 

High-Quality Visuals are Important Too
They say pictures tell 1,000 words – so make them count! It’s really important to use high-resolution photos that are crisp, of appropriate file size, and tell a story. Avoid submitting any scanned images or anything of a non-image file type (PDF, PPT, etc.).

If you need help or additional guidance, please contact VRLTA Director of Marketing and Communications Ryan Trapp.

Consider Including a Video in Your Nomination
If a picture says 1,000 words, a video can spell out a novel. Video clips can go a long way in showcasing your nominee’s personality and impact. However, it’s important that video submissions provide additional context for your nominee and don’t just repeat the information included in your submission. And again – quality is key!

If you would like to include a video in your nomination, contact VRLTA Director of Marketing and Communications Ryan Trapp.

The 2023 Fall Membership and Board Meetings and the Ordinary Awards will take place Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at the Marriott Downtown Richmond Hotel. If you’d like to celebrate with the winners all night, you can book a room at the hotel at a VRLTA discounted rate

Marriot Richmond Downtown
500 E Broad St
Richmond, VA 23219

Check back soon for more information on how to register!

Now, it’s time to celebrate! Take advantage of the opportunity to keep the buzz going with promotional PR efforts and social media marketing. All award winners will be provided with a media kit from VRLTA. Included in this kit will be: 

    • Press release template announcing your nominee’s win
    • A promotional video announcing all award winners
    • Professional images from the 2023 Ordinary Awards dinner taken by the event photographer
    • Graphics template for social media posts along with suggested messaging
    • Affiliated logo files