Kansas City’s Restaurant and hospitality awards announced in 20 categories for industry leaders

Annual Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Leadership and Awards Dinner featured Lidia Bastianich as keynote speaker

KANSAS CITY, MO. (Oct. 2, 2015) – The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association’s (GKCRA) annual Gilbert Robinson (GR) Leadership and Awards Dinner presented by Sysco unveiled restaurant-industry awards in a total of 20 categories. The 20 awards followed the announcement of Kevin Timmons, co-owner of Nick and Jake’s, as Restaurateur of the Year and Excel Linen Supply as Company of the Year in early September.

The Sept. 30 event featured a keynote address from celebrity chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich, immediately followed by the awards presentation, including Restaurateur and Company of the Year.

Kansas City Hospitality Employees of the Year Awards
The GR Dinner, presented by Sysco, recognizes the outstanding contributions to the Kansas City restaurant industry by businesses and individuals though both the GKCRA’s members and allied members. Following the keynote address, the GKCRA announced 20 award recipients, honoring the top leadership in categories ranging from bartender, server, chef, philanthropist and media. All award-winners were nominated by an employer, customer or colleague and voted on by industry peers. None of the recipients were notified of their award in advance. Winners are as follows:

Bartender of the Year                                
Jayne Montgomery                                                                
Name of Restaurant: Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen                              

Chef of the Year
Name: Rob Magee
Name of Restaurant: Q39

Host of the Year                                                                                 
Name: Abigail Uche                                                                            
Name of Restaurant: Seasons 52                                                     

Server of the Year
Name: Alex Kneeland
Name of Business: Kingswood Senior Living

Manager of the Year                                                                         
Jeff Thrall                                                                                
Name of Restaurant: Story                                                              

Porter of the Year
Name: Greg Schmidt
Name of Restaurant: Cascone’s Restaurant

Overall Employee of the Year                                                        
Name: Brant Rosen                                                                           
Name of Restaurant: Barley’s Brewhaus                                               

Heart of the House Employee of the Year
Name: Vince Paredes
Name of Business: Marriott Downtown

Office Employee of the Year                                                          
Name: Lauren Makin                                                                         
Name of Restaurant: KC Hopps                                                      

Allied Office Employee of the Year
Name: Vita Grant
Name of Business: Excel Linen Supply

Allied Employee of the Year                                                            
Tony DeAngelo                                                                                                                  
Name of Business
: C & C Produce                                                  

Media Person of the Year
Name: Derek Klaus
Name of Business: Visit KC

ProStart Leader of the Year:                                                                                
Barbara Skoglund                                                                  
Name of Business: NKC High School                                             

Rising Star of the Year
Name: Shelby Fahrni
Name of Restaurant: Lidia’s Kansas City

Outstanding Allied Director of the Year                                      
Lynn Corbett                                                                         
Name of Business: Heartland Payment Systems                                    

Edwin G. Gray Service Award
Name: Marty Elton
Name of Restaurant: Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen

Hospitalitarian of the Year                                                                                             
Cathy Pickens                                                                       
Name of Restaurant:
Coach’s Bar and Grill

Philanthropist of the Year
Name: Tony Muehe
Name of Business: Treat America Food Service and YMCA of Greater Kansas City

Work Horse Award
Name: Jane Redmond
Name of Restaurant/Business: Edward Jones

Name: Janet Dickey
Name of Restaurant/Business: LongHorn Steakhouse

About Gilbert Robinson
The Gilbert Robinson Dinner celebrates a standard of excellence set by former Kansas City restaurant firm, Gilbert-Robinson. Founded in 1961, the Kansas City-based restaurant company became a national leader in the industry with distinguished innovations in menu, decor and service. The group created several legendary concepts in the Kansas City market including Houlihan's, Bristol Seafood Grill, Fedora Café and Bar, Plaza III and Fred P. Ott's.

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 or follow GKCRA on Twitter at