Monson restaurant wins James Beard Award for hospitality

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 11:46 PM EDT
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MONSON, Maine (WABI) - A Mainer on a mission to bring fine dining and excellent service to the forefront has been awarded one of the nation’s highest culinary honors.

Marilou Ranta, better known as “Lulu,” and her restaurant, The Quarry Fine Dining in Monson, have been awarded the James Beard Award for Outstanding Hospitality.

We first visited The Quarry last October and it was very clear why they’d be in the running for the award.

“How many restaurants do you go to that your chef actually comes and hangs out with you at your table?” Ranta asked when we stopped by in October 2022. “None!”

Lulu’s passion for her food and her customers made an impression.

“Now everybody knows where my town of 670 residents - now we have 671 - I’m taking Mr. Beard with me!” Ranta said during her acceptance speech. “I never dreamed - not in my wildest dreams - that I’d be standing here today. Just to have my restaurant in, I call it the boonies, and somehow, Mr. Beard still found me! Don’t stop believing, please keep working!”

Here are our original stories with Lulu at The Quarry from October 2022, which spotlight her cooking skills and her outgoing personality: