From left, Joe and Mary Barbera, owners of Aida Bistro, receive the Restaurateurs of the Year award from Marshall Weston, Jr., RAM president and CEO.

The Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM), the only trade association that represents every segment of the foodservice industry in Maryland, announced today the winners for three of its prestigious honors to be awarded in the organization’s upcoming 2022 Awards Gala, which recognizes excellence in the foodservice industry and commitment to the community.

 “After facing yet another year of challenges driven by the pandemic, we’re really looking forward to coming together to celebrate the restaurant and foodservice industry like never before,” said Marshall Weston Jr., RAM President & CEO. “This event is an opportunity for us to not only recognize, but honor the restaurant industry’s hardworking and dedicated professionals during one of our most exciting events of the year!”

The following three awards are presented annually to those who have taken the extra step to enhance the restaurant industry while also making a difference in the community:

  • 2022 RAM Restaurateurs of the Year: Joe & Mary Barbera, AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar (Columbia)
    • Joe & Mary Barbera have been active members of RAM and other organizations in Howard County since they opened AIDA Bistro and Wine Bar in 2002. Their community involvement is a shining example of how restaurants can make a positive impact in society.
  • 2022 Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award: John Minadakis, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood (Baltimore)
    • During the pandemic when the restaurants of Baltimore City were struggling more than in any other jurisdiction in the state, John raised tens of thousands of dollars to give directly to restaurants in dire need. He understands how important restaurants are to every neighborhood, and he took matters into his own hands to prevent restaurants from closing permanently.
  • 2022 Heart of the Industry Award: Roxanne Upole, General Manager at Roy Rogers (Cumberland)
    • Roxanne lives by the words that “community involvement is essential to success”. The fundraising efforts and charitable contributions in her store far outpace others across the state. A leader shines when times are difficult, and she set the example to follow during the pandemic while keeping her store and employees engaged in the community while juggling the hardships of remaining open during the pandemic.

In addition to the three distinguished awards announced today, RAM is also inviting the public to vote for their favorite industry professionals across the state in four categories, including: Bartender of the Year, Chef of the Year, Restaurant Manager of the Year, and Server of the year. All award finalists are reviewed and selected by a committee including restaurant owners, industry professionals, food bloggers, post-secondary education professionals, and other individuals familiar with the restaurant and hospitality industries.