BiteClub, the food-centric blog of The Press Democrat, has been named the top entertainment blog in the nation in the 2009 EPpy Awards, one of online journalism's largest industry awards competitions.

The blog, which was started in 2006 and is produced by Heather Irwin, was recognized at the annual Interactive Newspaper Conference in New Orleans on Thursday.

In April, BiteClub had been named a finalist for the award as the top entertainment blog in the nation, regardless of audience size. Other finalists were AOL's entertainment Web site and a pop-culture blog of Entertainment Weekly's Web site. The 2008 winner in this category was USA Today's entertainment blog.

"BiteClub has quickly become a must-read for foodies and non-foodies alike in this area, and we're thrilled at the recognition awarded to Heather and this popular blog," said Interactive Editor Greg Retsinas.

BiteClub, which can be found at, offers a mix of Irwin's blog entries, reader discussions, polls and photography from the local dining scene.

Irwin, who is online creative manager for The Press Democrat, joined the digital department in 2006 and has been a frequent contributor to numerous regional and national publications.

This is the second EPpy Award won by The Press Democrat. In 1999, the paper received the best use of interactivity award for creating a database-oriented Web site that focused on wine reviews, tastings and industry information.

The 2009 EPpy Awards mark the 14th consecutive year of the program, which honors the best media Web sites, including newspapers, TV/cable, radio and magazines. Nearly 400 entries were submitted for this year's competition, which were evaluated by nearly 50 judges.