Mari Chuy’s wins PBS Reno Spotlight Award for Extraordinary Local Business

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Winners of the 2021 PBS Reno Spotlight Awards were announced last month, including Mari Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen, which operates three restaurants in Reno-Sparks, winning the Spotlight Award for Extraordinary Local Business.

PBS Reno announced the winners Sept. 18 after a community-wide voting process that included more than 6,600 submissions, according to a Sept. 28 press release.

“This PBS Reno Spotlight Award means so much to me and our team at Mari Chuy’s because it shows we have the support of our community,” Jesus “Chuy” Gutierrez, chef and owner of Mari Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen, said in a statement. “We work so hard to connect with people of Northern Nevada and give back every opportunity we can."

Runners-up in the Extraordinary Local Business category this year were Thrive Wellness of Reno and United Federal Credit Union.

PBS Reno also honored Sandy Raffealli, principal/owner of Bill Pearce Motors in Reno, as this year’s Extraordinary Philanthropist.

Other 2021 winners were as follows:

  • Emmalee Sutton, a freshman at Spanish Springs High School and top Girl Scout Cookies seller, won the Spotlight Award for Extraordinary Youth.
  • Jane Dunn, founder of The Reno Posse, which feeds people experiencing homeless in Northern Nevada, won the Spotlight Award for Extraordinary Individual.
  • Milton Hyams, a teacher who heads the We the People program at Incline High School, won the Spotlight Award for Extraordinary Educator.
  • Community Health Alliance won the Spotlight Award for Extraordinary Community Group.

PBS Reno produced videos highlighting all 14 finalists for this year’s Spotlight Awards. Go to to view them.

In addition to the awards, the event also includes an auction. This year, the event raised over $174,000 for PBS Reno.


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