The founder of Eschelon Experiences, who has built a group of six restaurants and bars throughout the Triangle, has been honored as Restaurateur of the Year by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Gaurav “G” Patel, president of the restaurant group, was recognized Feb. 6, by the organization that represents the state’s hospitality industry during the annual Stars of the Industry Awards. The awards were held at the Taste of North Carolina Gala in Chapel Hill.
He is one of several Triangle winners, including David Press of Hyatt House in North Hills, Lodging Manager of the Year; Guy Murphy, General Manager, Top of the Hill Restaurant, Brewery & Distillery, Chapel Hill, Restaurant Manager of the Year; and Lance Trenary, President & CEO, Golden Corral, Raleigh, The Griff & June Glover Award for Distinguished Service.
The Restaurateur of the Year Award is given to an owner or company that not only is successful, but also contributes to the community and improves the image of the food service industry.
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According to Patel’s biography, he was 10 years old – and spoke no English – when his family moved from a small village in India to Morehead City. He earned a business degree at North Carolina State University and later founded Eschelon Experiences in 2006. His first restaurant was the purchase of Mura in North Hills. He now owns Cameron Bar and Grill, Edwards Mill Bar and Grill and Bare Bones in Raleigh and Basan Bull City Sushi in Durham. Eschelon also owns The Haymaker cocktail bar in downtown Raleigh.
“I am incredibly honored to be recognized for an award that exemplifies the core values of Eschelon Experiences,” said Patel in a news release. “I would not be successful without the support of our community and dedicated employees.”
Patel is involved in several area nonprofit groups, such as Band Together and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and Eschelon donated $77,000 in 2016 to several causes.
The full list of awards is:
▪ NCRLA Chef of the Year: Jesse Roque, Executive Chef & Owner, Never Blue, Hendersonville
▪ NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year: Jossie Perlmutter, Pastry Chef, Block & Grinder, Charlotte
▪ Restaurateur of the Year: G Patel, President and Founder, Eschelon Experiences, Raleigh
▪ Restaurant Manager of the Year: Guy Murphy, General Manager, Top of the Hill Restaurant, Brewery & Distillery, Chapel Hill; and Brenda Johnson, front of house manager, Carolina Ale House, Concord
▪ Restaurant Employee of the Year: Sheri Costa, Server, Golden Corral, Raleigh
▪ Lodging Operator of the Year: Peter Grills, General Manager, The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, Charlotte
▪ Lodging Manager of the Year: Dan McLaughlin, F&B Director, Hilton Durham near Duke University, Durham; and David Press, Assistant General Manager, Hyatt House Raleigh North Hills, Raleigh
▪ Lodging Employee of the Year: Tommy Turrentine, Banquet Bar Captain, Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, Durham
▪ Hospitality Supplier of the Year: Christina Clark, Vice President of Sales, Shelton Vineyards, Dobson
▪ Hospitality Champion of the Year: N.C. Sen. Rick Gunn of Burlington
▪ The Griff & June Glover Award for Distinguished Service: Lance Trenary, President & CEO, Golden Corral, Raleigh
▪ The Ken Conrad Award for Service to the Community: Doris Huebner, Co-Owner, F&D Huebner LLC/McDonald’s, Garner
▪ Lifetime Achievement Award: Christina Larson, LongHorn Steakhouse, Summerfield