Thrillist Honors the Hospitality Local Heroes Across the Country of 2020

Company Release
December 7, 2020

NEW YORK – December 7, 2020 – In light of the events of 2020, Thrillist, the James Beard award-winning resource for food, drink, travel, and entertainment honors the hospitality “Local Heroes of 2020.” The year has presented unprecedented challenges and transformation across the globe, with the restaurant and bar community being especially hard hit. The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the entire food ecosystem from farmers and purveyors who suddenly lacked businesses to supply, to restaurants and bars being forced to lay off staff and close doors, to food banks with double the mouths to feed and less resources to do so. In the face of adversity, unsuspecting heroes emerged. This was a moment unlike any other for industry folks to take matters into their own hands.

Thrillist’s “Heroes of 2020” is a year-end look back at the people who, despite their own personal setbacks during 2020, pivoted their lives to step up, go beyond, and make change. These are the stories you haven’t heard, about people you might not know, displaying acts of kindness, courage and inspiration within their local communities. From a Dallas bartender who created a micro-grant fund to help undocumented restaurant workers, to a single mom and owner of 11 Philadelphia restaurants who created a grassroots campaign to lobby Congress for unemployment benefits, this is about shape-shifting, allyship, and courage.

While we can’t possibly honor the thousands of people who might be worthy of praise this year, these honorees are representative of the inspiring acts we saw all year long across communities — from everyday chefs and bartenders to delivery people and everyone in between. The list of honorees is nominated by industry-led panelists that include James Beard-nominated chefs like Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s, Preeti Mistry, Natasha Pickowicz, and other notable industry veterans like Elizabeth Tilton of Oyster Sunday, food justice and farming thought leaders like Danielle Nierenberg of, and more. The final list will also include selections from Thrillist and Thrillist readers.

“At Thrillist, we are deeply immersed and have great admiration for the culinary industry,” said Thrillist’s Executive Local Editor, Kelly Dobkin. “We wanted to create an editorially driven program that honors some of the incredible individuals across the country that have made an impact for their respective communities despite incredible personal hardships. We’re really in awe of the resilience of the community and want to celebrate their wins.”

Full list available at

About Thrillist:
Thrillist is the #1 food, drink and travel brand for Gen Z and Millennials [source: Comscore Media Matrix & Plan Metrix, Q3 2020.] Thrillist serves as a guidebook for those that want new experiences and long to turn a good time into a great time. Our nonstop coverage of local culture inspires audiences to discover their world and celebrate every moment. In a serious world, we take fun seriously. In December 2016, Thrillist joined forces with NowThis, The Dodo, POPSUGAR and Seeker to form Group Nine Media -- a global top 10 publisher.



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