The Slice gives you all the news you can use. Each issue will include any COVID-19 updates, reopening information, legislative news, and other relevant items for our readers. Please let us know if you'd like to see anything in particular or have other feedback - just email marketing@vrlta.org.
What's the Latest?
Each year, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association recognizes the best of the best with the Ordinary Awards. Anything but ordinary, we know that there are amazing businesses and people that make up the hospitality and tourism industry. Congratulations to all of our winners.

  • Attraction of the Year Award - National Museum of the Marine Corps
  • Charlie Buser Award for Attraction Employee of the Year Award - Britt Thurman, Science Museum of Virginia
  • Jim Ricketts Award for DMO/CVB Employee of the Year Award - Melissa Hopper, VisitNorfolk

  • Hotel of the Year Award - Quirk Hotel Charlottesville
  • Hotelier of the Year Award - Paul Cooper, Retro Hospitality
  • Hotel Employee of the Year Award - Elaine Callis, Hilton Richmond Downtown


  • Restaurant of the Year Award - Michie Tavern
  • Jim Wordsworth Award for Restaurateur of the Year - Sal Speziale, Ciao Osteria
  • Restaurant Employee of the Year Award - Andrew Borror, Capital Ale House
  • Chef of the Year Award - Michael Ritenour, Massanutten Resort
  • Bartender of the Year Award - Raheem Johnson, Capital Ale House

  • Brewery of the Year Award - Alewerks Brewing Company
  • Winery of the Year Award - King Family Vineyard
  • Distillery of the Year Award - KO Distilling
  • Legislator of the Year Award - Senator Chap Petersen
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Mercy Chefs and Gary LeBlanc
  • Supplier the Year Award - River City Food Tours
  • Rising Pineapple Award for Outstanding Hospitality and Tourism Student of the Year - Bridget Greenwood, Virginia Tech
  • Hospitality Hero (Individual Employee) - Kelli Mueller, The National Conference Center
  • Hospitality Hero (Business or Organization) Visit Loudoun
Welcome New VRLTA Members!

We are pleased to welcome the following new members, who have joined because they see the difference that VRLTA is making for them! For all of our members, thank you for your support; please let us know how we can help!

New Breweries: Highland Brewing Company
New Suppliers: US Foods (Featured Supplier) and Denton Realty Company (Standard Supplier)
New Restaurants: Urban Farmhouse Market and Café, YNOT Italian Franchise LLC, Captain George's Seafood
Want to Be In The Know? There's Still Time to Register VRLTA's Upcoming Full Membership Meeting
VRLTA's fall membership and component meetings will be VIRTUAL this year. At the meetings, we'll be electing officers, getting updates on Government Affairs and Education, gathering feedback from members, and more. By attending, you are taking part in shaping the direction of the association for the coming year. There is no cost to attend, but you must register to get the Zoom links. There is still time to register for the travel component meeting tomorrow or the full membership meeting next week!
VA1 Tourism Summit - November 16 in Richmond!

The 2020 VA1 Tourism Summit is still on, although in a modified format. We'll gather for a one-day event in Richmond, but it will be jam-packed with amazing speakers and content focused on travel in the time of COVID-19; "back to business" strategies; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and more relevant and timely topics.
The event will follow all guidelines for safety and distancing, and adhere to current federal, state, and locally-mandated protocols. Visit this page to learn more about how we are keeping VA1 healthy and safe! We continue to monitor the situation and will adjust plans as necessary. Learn more at www.va1tourismsummit.org. We are working to finalize the schedule and speakers now.
Government Affairs
Governor's Update - $8.4 Million Available to Support COVID Recovery and Response Efforts in Rural Virginia

Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $8.4 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for 14 projects that will help rural communities across Virginia respond to recover from the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Restaurant Association Update: House HEROES Act
The NRA and VRLTA are pleased that the House RESTAURANTS Act has been included in Speaker Pelosi's revised HEROES Act proposal; however, we don't believe it goes far enough, as it doesn't include small regional chain restaurants or individual owners of small franchise restaurants. We are asking the House, Senate, and White House to do the right thing to save our restaurants.

See the NRA's statement on the Updated House HEROES Act here.

See the NRA's Executive Summary of the HEROES Act here.
Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar!

  • October 2, 10-11 a.m. - VIRTUAL - VRLTA Travel Component Meeting. Register here.
  • October 7, 1:30-3 p.m. - VIRTUAL - Membership and Board of Directors Meeting. Register here.
  • October 14, 10-11 a.m. - VIRTUAL - VRLTA Webinar Wednesday - To Your Health - Explore all of the member healthcare benefits offered through VRLTA! Register here.
  • October 14-16 - VIRTUAL - 2020 Restaurant Legal Summit. Free! Learn more here. Register here.
  • October 27, 9:30 a.m. - Virginia Sporting Clay Shoot PAC and Restaurant Advocacy Fundraiser - Old Forge Sporting Clay, Providence Forge. See below for details.
  • November 16, all day - VA1 Tourism Summit, Omni Richmond Hotel. Register here.
Webinar Wednesday Continues on October 14

Did you know that being a member of VRLTA can improve your health? The Association offers a number of programs through partners that can help you, give important benefits to your employees, and save your business money. What's not to love?
VRLTA is continuing our webinar series on October 14 with a webinar entitled To Your Health. Members can join us to learn more about programs from UnitedHealth Group/ Optum and USI Insurance Services. Our experts will give you all the information you need to improve your health and that of your organization!

Kimberlee Vandervoorn of UnitedHealth Group/Optum and Holly Miller from USI Insurance Services will lead this event. They'll be sharing information about various programs offered to members which can improve your health, give important benefits to employees, and save your business money. Registration ends on October 13th at 5pm.
Join Us for the Virginia Sporting Clay Shoot, October 27

This annual event benefits the restaurant industry through the Restaurant PAC and Restaurant Advocacy Fund. Join the fun on October 27 at the Old Forge Sporting Clay in Providence Forge. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and you can join as an individual shooter or at various sponsor levels. Don't miss it! To get more information or to RSVP, contact Annie McEniry at amceniry@restaurant.org or 202-331-5920.
Education & Training
AHLA Offering New Enhanced Version of COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels

AHLA is proud to announce a new enhanced version of COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, a hotel-specific online training course designed specifically for cleaning and safety during the pandemic. This valuable training tool was developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and now includes a brand new module focused on de-escalation training for employees. The new de-escalation module offers all hotel employees guidance on how to reduce tensions and promote a safe environment while maintaining the spirit of hospitality throughout all interactions. The course is available for $5 for individual purchase, and can also be purchased at an enterprise level.
ServSafe: Classes Are Up and Running

VRLTA's preferred ServSafe training partners are offering ServSafe training around the state - we currently are listing more than 35 classes in 11 different localities (including some classes in Spanish), so there is bound to be a class to meet your needs. ORS and RVA Food Safety are also offering test proctoring. Click here to learn more and see the entire upcoming schedule. Partners' classes are filling quickly, so register today!
More News You Can Use
Congratulations to VRLTA's Robert Melvin on a New Addition!

VRLTA's Director of Government Affairs Robert Melvin and Miranda, his wife, welcomed their first child, a girl, on October 1 at 2:13 a.m. She'll be known as Poppy. All are doing well. Congratulations, Robert!
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Statewide Restaurante Week!

October 5th through October 11th
Restaurante Week is an initiative by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and it's partners to support Latino / Hispanic Restaurant owned and themed businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Participating restaurants participants can be found at www.vahcc.com.

If you'd like to participate in this event, you can get more information and register here.

VRLTA is proud to support the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and this event.
Got Some Creative Ideas?

VRLTA members have gotten creative in dealing with COVID-19. Whether it's expanded outdoor dining areas, signage for distancing, or innovative solutions to keep your business working, we want to hear about it! We're posting images on Facebook of these great ideas and would love to share yours, too.

Send images to brittany@vrlta.org and we'll include them in our Facebook album. Want to see what others are doing? Click here.
Diageo Will Donate $1 per Tweet or Instagram Post to the VRLTA Relief Fund!

You Post. Diageo Donates. Feel The Love. ❤ Post on Twitter or Instagram using #BackToMyBarVA & Diageo will donate $1 to Virginia service industry professionals.

Between 12:01 a.m. ET on 9/1/2020 and 11:59:59 p.m. (ET) on 12/31/2020, for each social media post that uses the hashtag #BackToMyBarVA, Diageo will donate $1 to the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association. Maximum donation of $5,000. Must be 21 or older.

Highland Brewing is Supporting the Virginia Restaurant and Hospitality Relief Fund

We are pleased to announce that Highland Brewing is contributing a portion of sales of their Gaelic Ale to the VRLTA Restaurant and Hospitality Relief Fund!

Highland distributes in areas of the state such as Roanoke, Bristol, Martinsville, Salem, and Radford. Look for their products on the shelves and in restaurants starting in September and through the end of the year!

The Relief Fund has already distributed thousands of dollars to organizations around the state. To learn more about the recipient organizations, visit this page.

Thank you, Highland Brewing, for your support of restaurant and hospitality employees in Virginia!