The Best of South Sound, The Olympian’s longtime business award program, attracted more than 500 people to Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion on Wednesday.
The Olympian has been recognizing local businesses for years. The Best of South Sound was once organized by the newsroom, but for the past 10 years it has been organized by the newspaper’s advertising department. For six of those years, The Olympian and Thurston County Chamber of Commerce have co-hosted the event.
More than 100 awards were announced during the luncheon, while the full list will be published online and in print on Thursday. Awards were determined by more than 78,000 votes on The Olympian website.
Rob Rice of Rob Rice Homes in Olympia won his fifth best contractor, new construction award on Wednesday, while Rick Nelsen of Ricardo’s Kitchen and Bar in Lacey took home four awards, including best waiter, best happy hour and best romantic dining experience.
It’s nice to be recognized for our work, said Rice, who has been in business for 30 years.
Nelsen, decked out in his trademark gold chains and gold dancing loafers, said the awards were not about him on Wednesday, but his staff.
“They earned it,” he said.