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March 1, 2013

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CRA Fresno chapter to honor former Lime Lite owners with Best of the Valley Lifetime Achievement Award

(FRESNO, March 1, 2013) – More than 500 restaurant operators and industry partners will convene Monday for the 2012 Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards gala hosted by the California Restaurant Association Fresno chapter. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. More than 1,700 restaurateurs in Fresno and Madera counties voted in more than 25 categories for the awards, ranging from best breakfast to best local winery to friendliest service.

The event will honor George and Cathy Milutinovich, longstanding owners of the Lime Lite Restaurant and Bar, who are the recipients of the 2012 Best of the Valley Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be honored,” said George Milutinovich. “We’ve made a life together here at the Lime Lite, and this recognition punctuates that effort.”

Open for more than 48 years in Fresno, the Lime Lite blends the golden formula of good service, sizeable portions of quality fare and generous libations at reasonable prices. Its original incarnation opened in 1964, and the couple purchased the business in 1976 as an established but tiny eight-table restaurant and bar on Clinton Avenue. The couple sold the restaurant in 2011, but its legacy continues under the management of Brandon Smitticamp. The Milutinoviches maintain a minority interest in the restaurant.

“The Lime Lite is a Fresno institution that epitomizes the ideals and reputation of the hospitality industry,” CRA Fresno chapter president Roman Cota said. “Though George and Cathy are transitioning into retirement, they’re still an integral part of the restaurant community, which is why it was natural that we honor them.”

Before owning the Lime Lite, George worked there as a full-time bartender, and Cathy as a waitress. As they developed a flavor and style, patrons began to know the restaurant as a great place for steaks and seafood, as well as excellent California wines and mixed drinks. Over the years, the restaurant has come up with many specialty dishes, including the seafood martini, legendary summer salads that showcase fresh local produce, Australian lobster tail, prime rib, aged steaks and fresh seafood.

The Lime Lite has served the who’s-who of Fresno’s business community, local and state politicians, and many others. Even legendary singer Tony Bennett and former California governor and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger have enjoyed a meal at The Lime Lite.

George Milutinovich was honored in 2001 as the Best of the Valley Restaurateur of the Year, and the restaurant has won a host of additional awards, including Best Steak, Best Fine Dining, Friendliest Service and Favorite Watering Hole.

Limited tickets to the Best of the Valley event are still available and cost $85. To register, go online at calrest.org.

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