The LaRocca family, known for operating several Fresno restaurants including Five, won the chief honor at Monday’s California Restaurant Association awards.
“When you do well, we all do well,” LaRocca said.
Dining on giant steaks offered by Pardini’s Catering, the Fresno County chapter hosted 650 attendees at the Doubletree Hotel ballroom in downtown Fresno. The local industry, along with a few elected leaders, gathered to celebrate the best.
Heirloom (8398 N. Fresno Street, suite 101, at the corner of Friant Road) cleaned the plate — winning the People’s Choice, along with best fast casual, and best family dining.
It was also a good night for Dave Fansler. The restaurateur won for best watering hole (Pismo’s Coastal Grill; 7937 N. Blackstone Ave.); best BBQ (Westwoods BBQ & Spice Co.; 8042 N. Blackstone Ave.; and best American (Yosemite Ranch; 1520 E. Champlain Dr.).
The CRA also inducted the first two members of its Hall of Fame, the late Vincent Papagni, who managed several restaurants in his lifetime, including Harris Ranch; and the late Ichiro Yoshino, known for his eponymous Japanese restaurant in Fresno.
The CRA also recognized David Rasavong. His Tasty Thai restaurant had to close down while it battled racism online.
Several Win Awards
Some select winners, with a full list below:
Best pizza: Annesso Pizzeria (9494 N. Friant Rd.)
Best chef: Jimmy Pardini
Best steak: 13 Prime Steak (1345 N. Willow Ave., Suite 190, Clovis)
Best burger: Colorado Grill (several locations in Fresno and Clovis)
Best deli: Sam’s Italian Deli & Market (2415 N. First St.)
Best sweet treats: Ampersand Ice Cream (three locations in Fresno)
Best Mexican: Sal’s Mexican Restaurant (locations in Fresno and Selma)
Restaurateur of the Year: Brandon Smittcamp of The Lime Lite (1054 W. Shaw Ave.)