(March 29, 2019) April 1 is the last day to cast a vote in the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s 65th annual Stars of the Industry Awards, which recognizes the best establishments in the state.
Four resort restaurant groups were nominated in three different categories.
Lisa and Brian Bolter of the Red Red Wine Bar on 48th Street, and Jay Taustin from Embers Restaurant/BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar on 24th Street and Mad Fish Bar & Grill in West Ocean City, are finalist in the Restaurateur of the Year Award category.
Tom Ogilvie from the Hooked Restaurant Group is a finalist for the Heart of the Industry Award, and Marlin Moon, located inside the Hilton on 33rd Street, is up for Maryland’s Favorite New Restaurant.
The Bolters opened their first restaurant in Annapolis, the original Red Red Wine Bar, eight years ago. Today, they own four restaurants, including Dry 85 and Red Red Wine Bar locations in both Annapolis and Ocean City.
“We’re really excited about [the nomination],” Lisa Bolter said. “We have been up for a couple of awards in the Restaurant Association in years past … when we got this call, we were really humbled and surprised, and just very excited.”
Red Red Wine Bar and Dry 85 both offer a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy wine or bourbon, Bolter said.
“[Brian’s] passion was wine and that’s where we started with this. We were both just really involved with wine and the whole experience behind it,” Bolter said. “We just thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a place that you can go, drink good wine [and] listen to good music?’ We felt like combining basically all of our favorite things and that’s what we’ve done here.”
Taustin said he is humbled to be a finalist for Restauranteur of the Year. He has worked in the restaurant business since the 1950s, when Embers first opened on Ninth Street.
“I think that it’s fantastic that people acknowledge that someone has been in the industry for as long as I have been, and it’s kind of cool,” Taustin said. “I’m proud of my accomplishments. I’m proud of my son, [who’s] taking over the range of the business right now. I’m proud of our director of operations, which has been taking a lot of leadership roles in the restaurant as well.
“What makes me the proudest of the organization is the team that we have today…” he added.
Ogilvie has been working in the restaurant industry for nearly 19 years and described it as his passion.
“Coming out of college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I started working for a company and I just realized that, [this] was my passion,” he said. “Here I am, 19 years later, and it’s all coming together and it’s a privilege and an honor to be a finalist.”
Primarily working at Tailchasers on 123rd Street since opening last year, Ogilvie is the director of operations for the Off the Hook Restaurant Group, which consists of five restaurants spanning from Ocean City to Bethany Beach, and also includes a catering company.
“I’m the kind of guy who goes in and jumps on the line and cooks during the rush, or helps out on the floor and goes around and talks to our guests,” he said. “I’d rather work with my employees than just tell them what to do.”
Marlin Moon is not a new name for the Ocean City area. The restaurant was originally located inside the Francis Scott Key Hotel in West Ocean City from 2002-2009.
Co-owner and head chef Gary Beach, who had a dream of owning a restaurant since he was 14 years old, credits the nomination to his team.
“I have a good crew. We get better every day,” Beach said. “I’m very humbled and very, very proud of our team.”
Food served at Marlin Moon is inspired by original recipes from Beach’s grandmother. His cuisine is also influenced by his experiences in Florida and from other travels, he said.
“I’m grateful for the Harrison Group,” Beach said. “It took a lot of people to get [Marlin Moon] off the floor.”
Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 5 at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s Stars of the Industry Awards Gala at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore.