Chamber honors restaurant guru Dennis Patillo as Citizen of the Year

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Jan. 30, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 29, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Dennis Patillo is a Victoria powerhouse.

He also is the 2014 outstanding Citizen of the Year recognized by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. He was honored Thursday night at the chamber's annual banquet at the Spring Creek Center Event Place.

About 300 chamber members and guests attended the banquet and stood when Randy Vivian, Victoria Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, acknowledged Patillo for the award.

Vivian said the restaurant owner has his hand in so many organizations and civic groups that it's a wonder he has time to do anything else.

"He's just thrown himself into the community," Vivian said before the banquet. "Not just in his restaurants either. He's become someone who the community can be proud of."

Judge Don Pozzi met Patillo about a decade ago during a community event and has since developed a strong relationship with the businessman.

"He leaves you with a great first impression," Pozzi said. "He's very intelligent and very easy to get to know."

Pozzi has worked closely with Patillo on several economic development and education projects during the past several years. Pozzi also said Patillo is a great asset to Victoria and is someone people can depend on to get a job done.

Vivian said it was not a hard decision to award Patillo the honor.

"He can either lead the pack, or he can be a great behind-the-scenes pit bull," Robby Burdge said.

Patillo and Burdge have worked together on community projects since Patillo relocated to Victoria about a decade ago.

Ever since Patillo arrived, Burdge said, he's had a lot of influence in the Crossroads' economic development.

"He's a great team player and is very passionate about the success of Victoria," Burdge said.

When Patillo isn't at his restaurants, which he owns with his wife, Louise Hull Patillo, he's working on an upcoming community project or at Stewart Title. Vivian called Patillo a "true Renaissance man" because he loves to ride his Harley, fly his personal Cessna and restore vintage cars, including a '68 El Camino.

Burdge, a fan of both Patillo's restaurants - The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar and The Sendera - is proud to call him a friend and colleague.

"He really is a good chef," Burdge said with a smile. "Aside from his restaurants - he can cook."

During the banquet, speaker Jeff D. Reeter of Northwestern Mutual shared his thoughts about Victoria's path to economic success. Vivian also introduced Randy Pollard as the 2014 board chairman for the chamber.

"The economy is good, and the Eagle Ford Shale is booming," Pollard said. "2014 is going to be a great year for the chamber."



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