Fourth annual Readers’ Choice Gala
recognizes Imperial Valley favorites
EL CENTRO —After a twoweek long voting process in which Imperial Valley Press readers nominated their favorite local businesses and organizations, finalists gathered Wednesday night to see who would claim the title of Imperial Valley’s best during the fourth annual Imperial Valley Press’ Readers’ Choice Awards Gala.
Held at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse, dozens of awards were presented to some of the Valley’s favorite restaurants, gyms, beauty salons and other local services.
“Each year our goal is to grow the event larger, and this year was no exception,” IV Press Advertising Manager and the Gala’s Organizer Alexis Singh said. “Thanks to our sponsors and local businesses, we had a great night and honored both winners and finalists in their respective categories.”
The finalists reflected the results of more than 5,000 voters casting over 71,000 votes. This year’s ballot featured more than 132 categories from which voters could choose.
While a full list of winners will be published June 3 in a special section of this newspaper, those in attendance were able to see many first-time and repeat winners celebrate after winning in highly contested categories such as Best Hospital, Best Hamburgers, Best Coffee and Desert and Best Beauty Salon. Guests also had the opportunity to win gift cards and other prizes in an opportunity drawing held throughout the night.
The event also served as an occasion to honor the event’s annual Legacy Award winner Johnny’s Burritos, Imperial Stores and Vessey and Co. Joining that list this year was Burgers & Beer.
The award was designed to highlight a local business that embodies a balance of passion, quality, creativity and involvement with the community.
Founded in 1985 in Calexico by Jaime and Marco Honold with the help of their father, the family-owned restaurant has since expanded to six different locations, including two in El Centro.
“When they told me we were going to be chosen for the Legacy award, there was no words,” Jaime, who accepted the award on behalf of the restaurant, said. “I’m very humbled. As part of the family, we really appreciate it, and we believe that at the end, good work always pays off.”
Honold said he believed support from the community has played an important role in the restaurant’s growth over the past 32 years.
“The Imperial Valley has been very good to our company, so we’re committed to giving back to this community,” Jaime said. “But to be honest, we’re not looking to get anything back, because we already have it. They’re here, and they’ve shown that they like the restaurant.”
Over 300 guests in attendance applaud while the winners of each category are announced during the fourth annual Imperial Valley Press Readers’ Choice Awards Gala held at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse in El Centro.
Burgers & Beer Owner Jaime Honold gives an acceptance speech after Burgers and Beer was presented the Legacy Award during the fourth annual IV Press Readers’ Choice Awards Gala held at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse in El Centro. VINCENT OSUNA PHOTO
Imperial Valley Press Publisher Belinda Mills introduces the Legacy Award recipient during the fourth annual IV Press Readers’ Choice Awards Gala held at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse in El Centro. VINCENT OSUNA PHOTO