The Washington Restaurant Association announced today that Pearl Bar & Dining in Bellevue was selected in the small restaurant category as a 2010 Restaurant Neighbor Award winner, on account of its charitable contributions.

Pearl’s Holiday Giving Project is the one that made a significant impact on the Bellevue community, because it assisted families (notably women and children) through two community outreach agencies on the Eastside: Overlake Service League and Eastside Domestic Violence Program. Pearl closed the entire restaurant on Dec.1, 2009, for a fundraising event to collect toys for the many children in the organization’s homeless shelters and programs.

Through their marketing outreach to their regular customers, more than $1,000 in toys and another $3,000 in cash donations were raised that night alone. Although Pearl lost revenue by closing the restaurant, the staff was riveted by the cause. As one of the only independent restaurants in downtown Bellevue, Pearl is one of the few businesses that can quickly respond to the needs of the community and take action for those who need it the most.

“We’re truly proud of Pearl’s efforts to ensure that financially challenged families were able to have a memorable holiday season,” said Anthony Anton, WRA president and CEO. “Their generosity is a model to which we believe other restaurants can aspire.”

To learn more about Pearl’s philanthropic efforts, click here.

Pearl was one of four state RNA award winners, including Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza in Tacoma; Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor; and Pike Place Bar & Grill in Seattle. The prestige of these awards continues to grow in the restaurant industry throughout Washington, with more submitted applications this year than ever before.

These four state winners will compete for a chance at the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Neighbor Award, a program that recognizes outstanding community service in the U.S. restaurant industry.

The national winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., this September to be presented this prestigious award during the 12th annual Restaurant Neighbor Award gala dinner and presented with $5,000 to help their favorite charity or community project.

The National Restaurant Association and founding partner American Express developed the Restaurant Neighbor Award to recognize outstanding community programs across the
country and to inspire other restaurant operators and owners to contribute to their communities.

All state winners receive a recognition plaque to display in their restaurant and are profiled for their community service efforts in the NRA’s award publication, as well as on the National Restaurant Association’s website,

The Washington Restaurant Association, in its 81st year, is the leading business association for the restaurant industry — the largest private employer in the state with an average workforce of nearly 200,000. In Washington, the more than 12,500 restaurants annually generate $12.2 billion to the state economy and contribute $635 million in state taxes. Washington restaurants are vital to our economy, community and careers.

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