The 2011 National Foodservice Beef Backer Award winners were unveiled today at the 2012 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Nashville.

Each year, the Beef Checkoff Program recognizes three foodservice establishments for their efforts in menuing and marketing beef. 

The 2011 national winners include the Little Apple Brewing Company in the Independent category, Zippy's Restaurants in the Chain category and Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort as the Innovator of the Year.

According to Iowa cattleman Scott McGregor, chairman of the Joint Foodservice Committee, "The annual Foodservice Beef Backer Awards are a chance to give recognition to hard working Americans behind the restaurants with the best beef programs in the nation. Every year we are in awe of the devotion restaurants have to their local cattle industry and their understanding of the versatility and value of beef on their menus. And this year was no exception."

The 2011 award-winning foodservice beef programs are:

  • Independent Operator – Little Apple Brewing Company, a family-owned steak house in Manhattan, Kan.

    A staple in the community, Little Apple Brewing Company offers a delicious variety of steaks, burgers, salads, and soups featuring new and traditional cuts of beef.

    Boasting an eclectic crowd from students and professors at Kansas State University to military personnel from Fort Riley, Little Apple Brewing Company has something for everyone.

    Kelly and Russ Loub and Lori Fink, co-owners of Little Apple Brewing Company, consider themselves partners and friends with the local cattle business and leverage their partnerships with the Kansas Beef Council and Certified Angus Beef LLC for promotional support and staff training.


  • Chain Operator – From President Obama to almost every resident of Hawaii has had a "Zippy's Experience." 

    For 45 years, Zippy's has proudly supported its island community and most notably, the cattle industry of Hawaii. With 25 different locations across the island state, Zippy's is a community-oriented establishment committed to protecting the sustainability of Hawaii's beef industry by purchasing enough beef volume to keep the industry viable.

    Through intelligent use of beef and products, Chef Wayne Komamura developed a recipe that utilizes grassfed beef to replicate an old-fashioned kama'aina style homemade hamburger patty. This classic hamburger steak is one of their top 10 popular plates. 

    Their acclaimed beef chili is most popular and is the best seller; in fact, over 200,000 pounds of Zippy's famous Chili is consumed every month – that's a lot of beef!  Other island favorites containing beef that caters to the palate of Hawaii residents are the Zippy's famous Oxtail Soup, Beef Stew and Teriyaki Beef.


  • Innovator of the Year – Home to eight distinct original restaurants and lounges, Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort is an epic destination in Idaho.

    By custom building a dry aging room at the resort and opting to fabricate its own steaks and grinds on-site, Coeur d'Alene offers an extremely high value to their customers matched with reasonable prices.

    Chef Adam Hegsted's philosophy of innovation through simplicity results in mouthwatering beef menu options at all price tiers – from the steakhouse to the cafe and buffets.

    Signature items such as the Wagyu Burger with braised oxtail marmalade, a Charcuterie Platter with cured beef tongue and the Cedar Plank Porterhouse that is flamed and carved at the table – embody the ultimate dining experience that only beef can deliver.


All winners were awarded a trophy and will be given unique marketing access to promote their restaurants as nationally acclaimed beef backers throughout 2012.  

For more than two decades, this prestigious award program honors commercial and noncommercial foodservice operations that go the extra mile in menuing and marketing beef – from creative beef menu items to promotion, waitstaff training and more.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.


Back of House, Menu Innovations, News