Congratulations to Mike Muller, owner and operator of Grace on Main in Elk Horn, for being chosen as the Iowa Restaurant Association’s 2020 Iowa Rural Restaurant Operator of the Year! California natives Mike and Estrellita (Ilee) Muller knew they were taking a leap of faith when they left their life in Sacramento to open a restaurant in the tiny rural Iowa community of Elk Horn. The couple’s aptly named Grace on Main Restaurant was slated to open March 18, 2020—the day after the Governor closed dine-in restaurant service statewide in response to COVID-19.With a pizza-centric menu, Muller was prepared for some amount of carry-out, so rather than debuting by welcoming people in the doors, the couple flung open a front window and handed pizza through to customers. Mike says, “We invested everything we had in a rural Iowa community that we’d visited less than half-a-dozen times. We believed the people and the lifestyle Elk Horn offered our family would be worth the risk,” said Muller. “And at the hardest time imaginable, Elk Horn proved us right.” That commitment to enhancing the hospitality options and culture of rural Iowa, is why Mike Muller, owner/operator of Grace on Main is the Iowa Restaurant Association’s first ever “Rural Restaurant Operator of the Year.”To celebrate with Mike and all of the other award winners, get your tickets for the Celebrating Excellence Award Ceremony and Grand Tasting Gala! Visit to learn more. Thank you to Sysco Iowa for sponsoring this years 2020 Celebrating Excellence Award Winners!

Photo credit Iowa Restaurant Association

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