Hill Diner recognized for outstanding community service

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By Kelly LeVan

Hill Diner has something to boast about – in addition to its famous banana cream pie.

This year, the diner’s co-owners, Denise Lane and Lori Novak, received the highest honor restaurant owners can achieve in New Mexico: New Mexico Restaurant Association’s award for Restaurateur of the Year.

“It was quite a shock,” Novak said. “We were pretty much speechless.”

“And for us, that’s pretty unusual,” Lane added.

The award, given at the Hospitality Industry Awards dinner held recently at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque, recognizes not only the quality of the recipients’ restaurant, but also their work in the community, dedication to their staff and their longtime service in the industry.

Lane said she feels compelled, as a successful business owner, to give back to the community that’s supported her all these years. Nevertheless, she said at first she was surprised to win the award.

But when she thought about what the award represented, she realized, “We’re really vested in the community ee We are good corporate citizens. We deserve this award.”

Lane and Novak have shown their dedication over and over again. Lane has been in the business for 33 years, managing several restaurants in Texas before opening Hill Diner in 1986.

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