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Julie Glenn, owner of House of JuJu in Clovis, accepts her award in the Best Kept Secret category at last year's awards ceremony. House of JuJu won this year in the Best Hamburger category. Photo by Edward Smith

published on March 5, 2019 - 1:44 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

The California Restaurant Association hosted its 28th annual Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards ceremony Monday night in Fresno, honoring the industry’s top talent in 34 categories.

Pat LaRocca, owner of FIVE, won top honors as Restaurateur of the Year. FIVE closed back in September due to a fire, with plans to reopen after ongoing renovations are completed.

A lifetime achievement award was also given to Peter DiNuzzo of Mike’s Pizzeria Lounge, located at West and Shields avenues in Fresno. The son of Italian immigrants, DiNuzzo inherited his family’s restaurant, which opened in 1962.

Two new categories were also introduced — Best Food Truck and Best Coffee.

The winners in each category are listed below, along with the nominees.

BEST BREAKFAST: Red Apple Café

Batter Up Pancakes
BJ’s Kountry Kitchen
The Patio Cafe

BEST FAST FOOD/DRIVE-THRU: In-N-Out Burger

Colorado Grill
Robertito’s Taco Shop
Wendy’s

BEST FAST CASUAL RESTAURANT: Butterfish

Chipotle Mexican Grill
Robertito’s Taco Shop
Teriyaki Don

BEST ASIAN RESTAURANT: Wassabi

Edo-Ya Tokyo Cuisine
Hino Oishi
Hunan Chinese Restaurant

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT: Papi’s Mex Grill

Casa Corona
Tabachines Cocina
Toledo’s Mexican Restaurant

BEST FAMILY DINING: Westwoods BBQ & Spice Co.

Colton’s Social House
Japanese Kitchen
Yosemite Falls Cafe

BEST FINE DINING: Cracked Pepper Bistro

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Manhattan Steakhouse & Bar
Ruth’s Chris Steak House

BEST PIZZA: Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria

DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant
Mama Mia Pizzeria
Ovidio Ristorante Italiano

BEST SEAFOOD/SUSHI: Pismo’s Coastal Grill

Hino Oishi
Sakura Chaya Tokyo Cuisine
Wassabi

BEST WINERY: Engelmann Cellars

Fresno State Winery
Solitary Cellars Wine Company
Toca Madera Winery

BEST SPORTS BAR: Dog House Grill

Elbow Room Bar & Grill
Kocky’s Bar & Grill
PressBox Sports Grill

BEST HOTEL/CASINO DINING: Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino

The 500 Club
Club One Casino
Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT: The Annex Kitchen

DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant
Ovidio Ristorante Italiano
Piazza del Pane

BEST NEWCOMER: 13 Prime Steak

Blast & Brew
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
Tabachines Cocina

BEST KEPT SECRET: School House Restaurant & Tavern

Andiamo Ristorante Italiano
Senor Aji Peruvian Bistro
Trelio Restaurant

FRIENDLIEST SERVICE: Sam’s Italian Deli & Market

Sal’s Mexican Restaurant
Senor Aji Peruvian Bistro
Vino Grill & Spirits

BEST WATERING HOLE: The Mad Duck Neighborhood Grill & Taphouse

The Lime Lite Restaurant
The Point Patio Bar & Bistro
Yard House

MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANT: Cracked Pepper Bistro

The Annex Kitchen
Manhattan Steakhouse & Bar
Trelio Restaurant

BEST STEAK: Ruth’s Chris Steak House

13 Prime Steak
The Lime Lite Restaurant & Bar
Yosemite Ranch Steak, Seafood, & Roast House

BEST BANQUET: Wedgewood Weddings Fresno

Classic Catering at 625
Love & Garlic
TorNino’s Banquets

BEST CATERING: Pardini’s Catering & Banquets

Gastro Grill & Catering
The Painted Table
Wedgewood Weddings Fresno

BEST HAMBURGER: House of JuJu

Colorado Grill
The Habit Burger Grill
Triangle Drive In Burgers

BEST SANDWICH: Sam’s Italian Deli & Market

Geno’s Italian Deli & Market
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Sequoia Sandwich Company

BEST CRAFT BREWERY: Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company

Full Circle Brewing Co.
Riley’s Brewing Co.
Sequoia Brewing Company

BEST COUNTRY CLUB DINING: Copper River Country Club

Belmont Country Club
San Joaquin Country Club
Sunnyside Country Club

BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT: Tandoori Night

Curry House
Elephant Lounge
Indian Kebab Palace

BEST SWEET TREAT: Ampersand Ice Cream

Donut Fantasy
La Boulangerie
Nothing Bundt Cakes

BEST MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT: Mediterranean Grill & Café

AJ’s Armenian Cuisine
ARK Mediterranean Grill
Phoenician Garden Mediterranean Bar & Grill

BEST BARBEQUE RESTAURANT: Dog House Grill

Famous Dave’s
Maw n’ Paw BBQ
Mike’s Grill

BEST FOOD TRUCK (NEW CATEGORY): The Gastro Grill

Meltdown Bistro
Takobbq Truck
Wafflicious

BEST COFFEE (NEW CATEGORY): Kuppa Joy Coffee House

Dutch Bros Coffee
Lanna Coffee House
Starbucks Coffee Company

BEVERAGE PURVEYOR/SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR: The Coca-Cola Company

Donaghy Sales
PepsiCo Foodservice
Young’s Market Company

PURVEYOR/SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR: JD Food

Cresco
Sysco Central California
US Foods

RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR: Pat LaRocca – FIVE

Elena Mastro – Parma Ristorante
Manuel Perales – Yosemite Falls Café
Brandon Smittcamp – The Lime Lite


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