The nation's nearly 1 million restaurants are encouraged to apply for the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award to be recognized for their community service contributions.

The annual award, which the NRA created more than a decade ago along with founding partner American Express, will honor four national winners with $5,000 contributions to their charitable projects. The categories from which winners will be selected are small business, mid-size business, large business/national chain and cornerstone humanitarian. Restaurants may apply online at before Jan. 11.