Port Land Grille gets prestigious award
August 29, 2012By Liz Biro
Long before the recent locavore movement got chefs jazzed about using foods grown close to home, Port Land Grille owner/chef Shawn Wellersdick was impressing diners with dishes featuring meat and produce from farmers based near the Lumina Station restaurant.
His efforts have been rewarded many times over Port Land Grille’s nearly 12-year history. The restaurant, 1908 Eastwood Road, has been featured in numerous magazines, visited by many celebrities and praised by restaurant reviewers.
But Wellersdick and his wife and co-owner, Ann Steketee, say perhaps their proudest moment is when their restaurant earns the DiRōNA Achievement of Distinction in Dining.
Port Land Grille this month received its seventh-in-a-row DiRōNA award, an honor especially coveted by Wellersdick and Steketee because it is bestowed by meticulous inspectors who consider every detail.
Anonymous inspectors are selected and trained “to fit the profile of a frequent DiRōNA restaurant customer,” DiRōNA reports at its website. They judge everything from parking, signage, artwork, flowers, service details and dining room traffic flow to menu creativity, food temperature, butter service and the quality of coffee.
The acronym DiRōNA stands for Distinguished Restaurants of North America. The Marshall, Mich.-based nonprofit organization was founded in 1990 by recipients of Travel Holiday magazine’s 1989 Fine Dining Awards. Travel Holiday was a travel magazine in publication from 1901 to 2003.