Cool Springs, Snuff Mill lead Del. restaurant honors
DOVER – The Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA) announced the winners of its 20th Annual Restaurant Industry Cornerstone Awards, with the owners of Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant and the new Snuff Mill Restaurant, Butchery & Wine Bar leading the way.
The annual award winners will be celebrated at a Oct. 24 gala banquet in Dewey Beach that honors the contributions of the state’s restaurant industry to Delaware’s economy and communities.
“We are extremely excited and proud to celebrate these iconic restaurateurs and industry leaders at this year’s Cornerstone Awards” Delaware Restaurant Association President and CEO Carrie Leishman said. “Their stories represent the resiliency of restaurants whose pivotal trailblazers embody a strong dedication and commitment to making this industry a better place. Each of our awardees will undoubtedly leave a long-lasting legacy in the lives and the communities in which they serve.”
This year’s winner of the Cornerstone Award, given to restaurateurs that embody the spirit of hospitality and iconic operators who have ingrained themselves at the heart of their communities, goes to Dennis and Carolyn Forbes, owners of Cool Springs in Dover.
The seafood house opened on New Year’s Eve 1999, and has become an institution in the capital city in the decades since. Dennis Forbes has also served on the DRA board for decades, helping to push forward the state’s industry.
This year’s Restaurateurs of the Year, which honors those bringing attention to Delaware’s restaurant scene with their contributions to both the dining scene and their commitment to creating exemplary workplace culture and sustainable opportunities for their employees, are Robert Lhulier and Bill Irvin, owners of Snuff Mill in the Wilmington suburbs.
The duo brings decades of industry experience to the table, wining countless awards and accolades for a thoughtfully curated menu that remains a difficult-to-get reservation at its Independence Mall spot. Snuff Mill is part restaurant, part wine and cocktail bar, and part butcher shop, but a one-of-a-kind experience.
Finally the new Industry Impact Awards, given to given to those who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the industry and lives of its workforce, goes to Michelle Souza, commercial director of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, and Ryan Ennis, a personal trainer, movement specialist and certified life coach.
Souza is a mentor in the wine and spirits industry with over 30 years of hospitality industry experience. Proud to lead an all-female management team at Southern Glazer’s, she has found her calling in teaching and motivating others, including through in the hospitality management program at the University of Delaware and the “Wine & Women” learning series in Rehoboth Beach.
Ennis, the owner and founder of Ryan Ennis Motivator and Life Beyond the Bar/Beyond the Bar United, is a veteran of the hospitality business and previous bartender. Beyond the Bar United seeks to overcome mental health challenges and improve the quality of life for the restaurant industry workforce. He completes all this work while also in treatment for Stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.