Among the chefs, eateries and bars that the Restaurant Association of Maryland honored last week during its 59th Annual Awards Gala, one stood out from the pack: the Jolly Pig, a Baltimore-based operation that sells a variety of pulled pork tacos ... from a truck.
Compare that to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, which will host its annual Rammy Awards ceremony on June 23 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Nowhere on the list of nominees for the 2013 Rammys will you find a food truck, let alone a category for the mobile vendors, probably because the association itself has been lobbying the District for tighter regulatory controls on these rolling competitors.
The Restaurant Association of Maryland has adopted a more welcoming attitude toward food trucks.
"We established this category last year, and I think our committee did identify that food trucks are sort of the up-and-coming thing," says Marshall Weston Jr., president and CEO of the association. "From our take, we don’t see any issues with food trucks ... They do have a place in the market.”
One other difference between the two trade groups: Winners at the Annual Awards Gala don't have to be members of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, though Weston says they often are. He notes that winners in the favorite new restaurant category are sometimes not members since they're required to be open only two years or less.
Finalists for the annual Restaurant Association of Maryland awards are selected by an awards committee, based on public nominations. Once the finalists are selected, however, the public ultimately decides on the winners in all categories, save for restaurateur of the year and allied member of the year, which are both exclusively member awards.
With the Rammy Awards, the public decides the winner in three out of 16 categories.
The big winners from the Restaurant Association of Maryland's gala were Shawn Harman, owner of Fish Tales in Ocean City, who won restaurateur of the year; and Jeff Eng of Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge in Rockville, who won chef of the year.
The rest of the winners and finalists can be found here.