Michigan Restaurant Association Names Top Industry Employees


LANSING — The Michigan Restaurant Association has named the winners of its second annual Michigan Restaurant Industry Champion Awards. The awards recognize outstanding employees of the food service industry who have demonstrated professionalism in performing their jobs and have contributed to the positive image of the state’s restaurant industry.

“Anyone who has worked in a restaurant will tell you that it’s not easy work,” said Brian DeBano, president and CEO of the MRA. “Restaurant employees are hard workers, and these important awards put a well-deserved spotlight on the thousands of people in the state making a living in Michigan’s restaurants.”

The winner of the Front of the House Restaurant Employee of the Year is JJ Caldwell from Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern in Northville.

The Heart of the House Restaurant Employee of the Year resulted in a tie. Elliot Webb from Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern in Bloomfield Hills and Joe Marsalese from Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille in Caledonia, will share the award.

The Restaurant Manager of the Year is Lea Schofield from Bill’s in Bloomfield Hills. Schofield provides world-class service to guests and is a well-respected leader to employees, treating both as if they are guests in her own home.

The awards were presented at the association’s annual dinner held over the weekend at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids.