The Nebraska Restaurant Association held the 23rd annual Taste of Nebraska dinner and awards presentation on Monday, April 18th at The Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland.  More than 570 guests dined beneath the wings of some of the most striking aircrafts in Hangar B of the Museum, while enjoying an extensive buffet catered by Upstream Brewing Company Catering.

The most prestigious award of the evening was presented to Denis Hall of Fernando’s Café & Cantina.  Denis was presented the Mary Lutz Trophy Award by Governor Dave Heineman as Nebraska’s outstanding Restaurateur of the Year for 2010.

Allied Member of the Year was presented to Tim Peterzen of Sysco-Lincoln. Lodger of the Year was awarded to Embassy Suites, LaVista.

The 2010 Nebraska Restaurant Neighbor Awards were also presented to Valentino’s, Grandmother’s, and Liberty Tavern at the Omaha Hilton.

The National Restaurant Association and founding partner American Express developed the Restaurant Neighbor Award to raise awareness about the restaurant industry’s contributions in local communities across the country and to inspire other restaurant operators and owners to make even greater contributions in their communities.

The highlight of the evening was keynote speaker, NASA Astronaut, Clayton Anderson who entertained the crowd with his humorous speech and slides depicting the food he ate while in space. Clayton conveyed his dedication to the state of Nebraska and shared pictures of his journeys aboard the space shuttle.

The Nebraska Restaurant Association would like to thank Governor Dave Heineman and special guest, NASA Astronaut, Clayton Anderson, for their attendance at this year’s awards dinner.

For more information on the Nebraska Restaurant Association, please contact Brandy Nielson at (402) 488-3999 or or see us online at