KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Jan. 13, 2014) – Two of the oldest restaurant trade organizations in the United States, the Missouri Restaurant Association (MRA) and the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association (GKCRA), held a dual inaugural event in Kansas City on Saturday to install new officers for both organizations, as well as honor individuals and businesses making an impact in the restaurant industry both locally and state-wide. Kansas City was chosen as host city for the dual Inaugural as hometown of the incoming Missouri Restaurant Association president, Vic Allred of Jazz-A-Louisiana Kitchen. The sold-out event, held this year at the Westin Crown Center, attracted prominent members of the restaurant community throughout Missouri and the greater Kansas City area.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James presented Bart Hickey of the Capital Grille a special proclamation in recognition of his extensive community service personally and through his work in the restaurant industry.
Those honored at the event include, 2013 Kansas City Restaurateur of the Year, Alan Gaylin of Bread and Butter Concepts, 2013 Kansas City Company of the Year, A.J. Goss Distributors and Bob Hines of Osage Marketing, winner of the 2013 Missouri Restaurant Association Distinguished Service Award. Hall-of-Fame inductees in to the Missouri Restaurant Association were Kansas City’s Greg Hunsucker and Vita Totta of V’s Italiano Ristorantre.
Funds Raised for Scholarship and PAC
The event also raised funds for both organizations to further the political and charitable goals of the industry. Saturday marked the introduction of fundraising for the Ron Barkley Scholarship. The scholarship, named in honor of a long-time Kansas City restaurateur that passed away in September, will be administered by the GKCRA. Following a video noting Barkley’s numerous contributions to the Kansas City Restaurant industry, members of both organizations rallied in a fund-a-need raising more than $34,000 to fully fund the scholarship’s endowment. A silent auction event also raised more than $5,000 for the MRA’s PAC. The PAC facilitates the election of pro-business legislators to the Missouri General Assembly.
New GKCRA Officers
The President’s Inaugural event officially installs new officers with Bart Hickey of Capital Grille as president. Hickey, managing partner of the Capital Grille since 2005 and a GKCRA board member since 2007, will lead the nearly 600-member organization along with four other officers.
2014 Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Officers
President – Bart Hickey, Capital Grille
President Elect – David Brown, Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc.
Vice President – James Eddy, Popeye’s Kansas City
Treasurer – David Lopez, Manny’s Restaurant
Chairman – Zach Doerfler, Treat America Food Service
New MRA Officers
The Kansas City event marks the beginning of a new term for statewide MRA officers. Led by President Vic Allred of Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, the 2014 MRA officers will direct the vision and goals of the more than 1500-member organization. Allred also owns famed Kansas City speakeasy, Jimmy’s Jigger, as well as a number of other Jazz restaurants as far away as Reno, Nev., and as close as Columbia, Mo.
2014 Missouri Restaurant Association Officers
President – Victor Allred, Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, Kansas City, Mo.
Vice President – Bob Luke, Rib Crib, Springfield, Mo.
Treasurer – Buddy Lahl, Treat America Food Services, Kansas City, Mo.
Secretary – John Larocca, University Club of MU, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
Chairman – Mark Dirnberger, Bella Italia, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
GKCRA and MRA Awards
The Inaugural Event recognizes the outstanding contributions to the Kansas City restaurant industry by businesses and individuals.
Restaurateur of the Year, Alan Gaylin, Bread and Butter Concepts: Since the inception of Alan Gaylin’s Bread and Butter Concepts restaurant group in 2010, his restaurants have been honored with notable distinctions from Open Table, KC Magazine and 435 South Magazine, among others. Previously, Gaylin served as COO, senior vice president of operations, and divisional vice president for Houlihan’s restaurant group, playing a key role in the restaurant’s major rebranding. Glaylin lives in Brookside with his wife Bridget Grams and serves on the board of the YMCA of Prairie Village.
Company of the Year, A.J. Goss Distributors, Inc.: Established as a distributor for Foremost Dairy Food Service Division, A.J. Goss Distributors has been an active member of the Kansas City community and GKCRA for nearly half a century. Tom Deer, owner and president of the company, has been honored with the Silver Service Award, the MRA Distinguished Service Award, the Workhorse Award and as Allied Director of the Year. Deer served on the board for GKCRA in 1985.
GKCRA Edwin G. Gray Service Award, Bart Hickey, Capital Grille: Bart Hickey became acquainted with the restaurant industry while growing up in Southern California. After stints working and managing restaurants in Okla., Tenn., Ga. and Mich., Hickey moved to the Kansas City area to manage a Rio Bravo Mexican Cantina followed by Pierpont’s in Union Station. He joined the Capital Grille in 2001 and became managing partner 2005. He is currently serving as the 2014 GKCRA president.
Missouri Restaurant Association Distinguished Service Award, Bob Hines, Osage Marketing, Inc.: Bob Hines has been part of the restaurant industry for more than 40 years. With his wife, Patty, Hines founded Osage Marketing, Inc. in 1982 and now has offices in Kansas City and St. Louis. Hines served as an officer for MRA for four years, serving on the PAC Committee, and the Self-Funded Insurance Committee. Hines is also active in the Kansas City community serving as a board member for Harvesters for more than 10 years and he currently serves on the board of directors for Shadow Buddies Foundation.
MRA Hall of Fame Inductees
Greg Hunsucker and Vita Totta, V’s Italiano Ristorantre – When Vita Totta first opened V’s in 1963 in Independence, Mo. With her husband, Jay, it consisted of three tables and four booths. As the restaurant gained popularity, the business moved to its current location accommodating 150 patrons in 1972. The same year, at age 13, Greg Hunsucker began working for V’s as a server assistant, eventually becoming general manager by 1980. Hunsucker served as the GKCRA president in 1991, the MRA president in 2003 and is the 1996 Restaurateur of the year. Totta retired from the business 20 years ago but still visits the restaurant daily to visit with customers.
About Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association
The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association (GKCRA) is a trade association with more than 600 members consisting of restaurants, caterers, hospitals, schools, institutions, clubs and in-plant cafeterias as well as vendors serving the local restaurant industry. Members work together to represent, educate and promote the restaurant and hospitality industries in the Missouri counties of Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte and Kansas counties of Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte. For more information on the GKCRA, “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GKCRA or follow GKCRA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GKCRA.