Restaurant takes top business honors in Nevada City |

Restaurant takes top business honors in Nevada City

A Mexican food restaurant took top business honors and the outgoing president took top community service honors at the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce’s awards dinner Saturday.

Las Katarinas Mexican Restaurant owners Delia Gutierrez and Dave Francis walked away with the 2009 Business People of the Year award, a recognition Gutierrez said seemed so improbable during the first few years of their five-year business run.

“The third year in, I thought I should either kiss him or I should kick him in the butt,” Gutierrez said of husband Francis after receiving the award. “But after this, I will kiss him.”

The restaurant is next door to City Hall and has increased sales each of the past five years, Francis said. Presenter Bob Buhlis, past president of the Nevada City Rotary Club, praised the couple’s “positive attitude that doesn’t stop.”

The 108th annual dinner was held at the Stonehouse Hospitality Academy in Nevada City and honored local business people while ushering in new leadership.

Chamber members crowded onto two levels to watch the ceremony, with upstairs guests watching from a TV screen and stamping their feet in approval as awards were presented below.

Duane Strawser, owner of the Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop and a three-term chamber president, took home the Elza Kilroy Community Service Award.

City Manager Gene Albaugh credited Strawser with organizing the Nevada City Bicycle Classic “when some felt it should be dropped.”

Strawser thanked his wife Connie when he received the award and nodded to May’s Amgen Tour of California race, which will start in Nevada City largely due to his efforts.

“Hopefully it will benefit all of us in one way or another,” Strawser said.

As he closed his presidential term, David Painter assumed the top spot at the chamber. Painter, who is the “P” in SPD Markets, said he planned to keep producing “all the events that the chamber has so successfully put on.”

He also vowed to lead “a chamber that’s going to be ready for the future.”

Barbi Jackson was installed as president-elect and Jim McConnaughay was installed as treasurer.

The chamber presented five other awards Saturday:

• Dan Reinhart won the W. Lon Cooper New Construction Award for the cottage at 347 Nimrod St.

• Pat and Diane Dyer won the Stan Halls Architectural Award for the Utopian Stone Goldsmith store at 301 Broad St.

• Nevada City Film Festival won the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Visual Arts Award.

• Tom Taylor won the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Performing Arts Award.

• Nevada County Concert Band won the Chamber of Commerce Live Music Award.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.

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