Anna Maria Oyster Bar is overjoyed to announce that Cherise Sherwin, a staff member at the Landside Oyster Bar location, has been named the 2018 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s “Restaurant Employee of the Year.”
A wonderful member of the AMOB family for nearly twenty-one years (more precisely, since Day One at our Landside location which opened on September 15, 1997), Ms. Sherwin was honored for her hard work, dedication to the company, and generous spirit as a Hospitality Star of the Industry award winner.
Cherise is the heartbeat of Landside, and has built an enviable clientele at “her bar” who come specifically to see her each day. Nancy appreciates her help with Word Warp puzzles – and Cherise provides the newspaper ready at the correct page. She ensures each guest is taken care of in their own special way, like when she arranged for special seating for Jim, who is now on a mobility scooter and needed a taller chair that would lift to bar height. Then there’s Josie, from the retirement home next to the restaurant, who takes her morning walk to see Cherise every weekday, and no matter if open or not, she is greeted at the door with a hug, a smile and a welcome.
Cherise is family to so many Oyster Bar guests – whom she sees more often than most of their family members do. She remembers birthdays, anniversaries, grandchildren’s names, and most importantly — their favorite meals and cocktails. If she hasn’t seen a regular for a few days, she calls or visits. She calls their family members, and the families call Cherise to check on their loved ones, too! In more than a few cases, she has been asked to serve as executor of wills.
For nearly twenty one years, she has witnessed the growth of Anna Maria Oyster Bars, and been at the very heart of it. The wildly popular Birthday & Anniversary Club was her idea – now with over 12,000 members! Cherise walks with the AMOB “Shuck Cancer” Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team, sells ducks for PACE Center for Girls, and volunteered to captain Dive Into Reading at Landside, the award-winning summer reading program for Title I elementary school children, making sure each one is fed, had a book, and is having fun and learning.
Anna Maria Oyster Gran Jefe John Horne notes, “Cherise and I were standing behind the bar on the Day we opened Landside…and she’s been there ever since. We’re still behind the same bar, 21 years later…and she’s still making her guests feel at home and taking awesome care of them…. often I’m still standing right beside her… right in the way!”
Mr. Horne continues, “Cherise started at Landside thinking she’d work for three months while she got acclimated to the area, and then find a job where she could stay for a while after moving from Wisconsin. All three of her children have worked with us at some time or another… including Kaylyn, for the past 15 years and currently at Ellenton…longevity runs in her family!!!”
With more than 40,000 eating and drinking establishments in the state of Florida (estimated, National Restaurant Association, 2016), Florida’s food & beverage industry will power more than 1,054,000 jobs this year, comprising about 12% of the state’s total employment. As the 2018 Restaurant Employee of the Year, now the entire state of Florida knows what Anna Maria Oyster Bar guests and family have always known: Cherise is one- in-a-million!
The Anna Maria Oyster Bars have been FRLA members since 1997, and Mr. Horne will represent the AMOB family on the State Executive Board in 2019 as the Restaurant Director, after nearly 10 years of service on the FRLA State Board.
Cherise accepted the Restaurant Employee of the Year award during a special gala honoring Hospitality Stars of the Industry, in Orlando, FL on Thursday, September 6, 2018. She was surrounded by her husband, son, both daughters and one son-in-law, as well as Ken Device and Tim Bingham, Managing Partners at the Landside and Ellenton Oyster Bars, respectively. John Horne, who is also a board member of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, happened to be the Master of Ceremonies for this annual event.
That evening, the new FRLA board was installed and prestigious recognitions were also presented, including new Hall of Fame members: Hotelier Bruce Craul, COO of Emerald Grande in Destin; Restaurateur Paul Avery, former President of Outback Steakhouse, now World of Beer CEO; and Supplier of the Year, The Zenith Insurance Company of Sarasota. The additional 2018 Hospitality Stars of the Industry award categories and winners:
* Hotel GM of the Year, Sheldon Suga, VP and Managing Director, Hawk’s Cay Resort in Duck Key
* Restaurant GM of the Year, Bobby Kuchinsky, General Manager of Half Shell Raw Bar and Turtle Kraals in Key West
* Chef of the Year, Chef Sean Woods, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia island
* Hotel Employee of the Year, Walter Nick Dotson, Reservationist at Hilton Pensacola Beach