The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association has named Raleigh's Greg Hatem as its restaurateur of the year.
Hatem, whose Empire Eats restaurant group owns The Raleigh Times Bar, Gravy, Sitti and The Pit, was lauded for his efforts to revitalize downtown Raleigh.
Hatem's Empire Properties owns more than 40 buildings of office and retail space in downtown Raleigh and Durham.
Roy Durham, head line cook for Raleigh's Rocky Top Hospitality, was also named restaurant employee of the year.
The awards were presented earlier this week at an event held at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. The annual awards honor individuals who have accomplished achievements in the restaurant, lodging and hospitality supply industries.