NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Restaurant Association announced the winners of the 2023 Hospitality Industry Awards. 

The winners were revealed at the Hospitality Industry Awards dinner, which was held at the Route 66 Casino on Tuesday.

Mark Herman of Dion’s and Tula’s Kitchen in Albuquerque was recognized as the 2023 Restaurateur of the Year, the top honor a restaurateur can achieve in New Mexico. Dion’s also has several locations across the state of New Mexico including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell and Clovis. The chain also expands into Colorado and Texas.

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Cristian Pontiggia of Sassella in Santa Fe received the Chef of the Year award. It is given to recognize chefs who provide excellent cuisine as well as excellent service. 

The Manager of the Year recognizes outstanding managers who are the team leaders in a restaurant establishment. This year’s recipient was Jarrod Taylor of Jinja Bar and Bistro which has locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The Community Service Award went to M’Tucci’s Restaurants in Albuquerque for the impact they have had on the community.

New Mexico Restaurant Association introduced a new award this year called the “Face of Diversity” award. This award was designed to recognize an individual from a diverse background who has realized the American Dream through hard work and determination. Nominees included people of color and different ethnicities, along with those with physical disabilities or mental illness who have overcome adversity. Mike White of High Point Grill in Albuquerque was selected for the award.