There must be hundreds, if not more, small businesses located in California’s sprawling 28th Senate District but only one will receive Sen. Jeff Stone’s coveted 2017 Small Business of the Year Award — Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse at The River in Rancho Mirage.

“We are completely shocked and completely humbled,” Operations Manager Arthur L. Vasquez told Uken Report. “After finding out how incredibly large the 28th Senate District is we are just very, very, very, very surprised.”

To his point, the district, which is entirely in Riverside County, stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Wildomar.

Babe’s is well-known and favored for its baby back ribs, sweet potato fries, cornbread, microbrews and so many other mouth-watering dishes. But Vasquez, who is also a chef at the restaurant, hopes the recognition is for more than the menu.

“In a nutshell, we’ve been here for 15 years,” Vasquez said. “I’d be happy if 75 percent of the reason we received this award is because of our community involvement, working with local charities and the strong ties we have in working with local businesses.”

As a microbrewery, Babe’s has accounts outside the restaurant to who they sell their beers. Workshop Kitchen & Bar and Lulu’s, both in Palm Springs, are two of the clients. A valued third is The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake lounge on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

Babe’s has an arms-length list of charities it has helped. One of the most high profile was a fundraiser it helped host for a 4-year-old child with leukemia.

“Since opening in 2002, Babe’s Bar-B-Que has been well-known as an outstanding supporter of the community and many philanthropic and charitable events,” Stone said in a prepared statement. “They are known as the ‘Pride of Rancho Mirage’ for their outstanding customer service, great food and award winning craft microbrewery.”

Babe’s has been an active 15-year member of the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce which honored them as their 2017 Large Business of the Year.

In 2017, Babe’s racked up a list of honors, including:

  • Palm Springs Life “Best of the Best” for BBQ
  • Desert Magazine/ The Desert Sun “Best of the Valley” for BBQ
  • CV Independent “Reader’s Poll” winner Best BBQ
  • Beer awards at: California State Fair, US Open Beer Championship, LA International Beer Competition & Nor Cal Beer Festival.

They were also named Brewery of the Year at the 2015 California State Fair.

“Businesses like Babe’s are the backbone of California’s economy,” Stone said in a prepared statement. “I commend them for their many awards and accomplishments and for their long history of support to the community.”

Stone, R-Riverside County, will make the East District presentation at 5 p.m. Dec. 19 at Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse, 71800 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.