Celebrating the Best in Rhode Island Hospitality: The 2023 Stars of the Industry

Dale J. Venturini
President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association

The red carpet was unfurled once again at the Providence Performing Arts Center for a night of grandeur and recognition to celebrate the very best of Rhode Island’s hospitality community at the RI Hospitality Association’s 33rd Annual Stars of the Industry event. On Wednesday, December 6th, more than 700 attendees gathered to honor colleagues, family and friends and enjoy a night of comradery and community. Black-tie optional, award recipients dazzled in their finest attire, adding a touch of elegance and individual flair to the evening's festivities. This year's ceremony was a sight to behold. A specially crafted runway framed the historic theater’s stage, hinting at the glamour and excitement that awaited. A special performance by Massachusetts-native and former ‘The Voice’ contestant Sam James kicked off the night. A talented singer and songwriter, Sam performed his own original music, as well as songs co-written for music greats Dolly Parton and Lee Brice.

The room was filled with anticipation as attendees applauded fellow winners and eagerly awaited their names to be called. 84 awards were presented in categories ranging from best bartenders, chefs, and restaurants, to hoteliers, valets and tourism partners. There were also special awards for Man/Woman of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Following the awards ceremony, the stage transformed into a vibrant hub of celebration. A unique invitation awaited guests to step onto the stage itself, where mingling with award recipients and catching up with colleagues continued for hours. McGrath Catering, plus 14 member restaurants, tantalized palates with incredible food stations and WRIK Entertainment elevated the ambiance, creating an unforgettable post-ceremony experience.

This annual gala not only shines a spotlight on our industry’s exceptional talents, but also offers a remarkable opportunity for industry leaders and allied sponsors to meet decision makers and showcase their brands to an audience of influential figures in the hospitality sphere. The collaboration between sponsors and the event underscores a mutual dedication to fostering excellence within the industry.

As the night unfolded, brilliance and accomplishment took center stage, exemplifying the resilience, dedication, and artistry embedded within Rhode Island's hospitality landscape. To those who joined us for the event, who contributed to its splendor, and to the award recipients whose dedication illuminates our industry's path forward, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude. Their dedication and passion continue to light the way forward, ensuring that excellence within our industry remains Appreciated and celebrated.

The 2023 Stars of Industry event was a resounding success and a true testament to the spirit of the hospitality industry as a whole, and a celebration of the shining stars whose contributions make Rhode Island a more vibrant and welcoming place.

I wish there was enough space to name each award winner individually, but there's just too much talent! You can find the complete list of this year's winners at https://www.rihospitality.org/RIHA-Stars-Award-Winners. In a small state like Rhode Island, chances are you'll spot someone familiar, or you are connected to someone you know on that list!

Although many are nominated and win an award each year, there are countless others who shine brightly in their own roles within the hospitality community. To everyone who has done their part to make our industry the vibrant and crucial cornerstone of Rhode Island’s culture and economy, please accept my heartfelt appreciation.

Until we meet again, may your light continue to illuminate the path to excellence!