Kansas City Inaugural Event and Awards Ceremony for Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Introduces New Officers and Celebrates Restaurant Industry Leaders

Annual Event Inaugurates New Board, Announces Industry Awards and Celebrates the Restaurateur and Company of the Year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Jan. 14, 2015) – The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, held an inaugural event in Kansas City on Saturday to install new officers for the organization, as well as honor individuals and businesses making an impact in the restaurant industry. The event, held this year at Bartle Hall, attracted prominent members of the restaurant community throughout Missouri and the greater Kansas City area.

Those honored at the event include, 2014 Kansas City Restaurateur of the Year, Bart Hickey of Season’s 52 and 2014 Kansas City Company of the Year, US Foods.

New GKCRA Officers

The President’s Inaugural event officially installs new officers with Dave Brown of Northstar Restaurants as the incoming president. Brown will share the vision and industry updates related to the local association and its 600 members for the next year.

2015 Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Officers

President – Dave Brown, Northstar Restaurants

President Elect – James Eddy, Popeye’s Kansas City

Vice President – David Lopez, Manny’s Restaurant

Treasurer – Alan Gaylin, Bread and Butter Concepts

Chairman – Bart Hickey, Season’s 52

GKCRA Awards

The Inaugural Event recognizes the outstanding contributions to the Kansas City restaurant industry by businesses and individuals.                                                                        

Restaurateur of the Year, Bart Hickey, Season’s 52: Bart Hickey became acquainted with the restaurant industry while growing up in Southern California. After stints working and managing restaurants in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia and Michigan, 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. In September, Hickey became general manager of Season’s 52, a related Capital Grille restaurant. Hickey is the outgoing president of the GKCRA.

Company of the Year, US Foods: US Foods, one of the nation’s largest food distributors, is an active member of the Kansas City community and the GKCRA. The company employs 479 employees in its Kansas City division. US Foods is one of America’s great food companies and leading distributors serving independent and multi-unit restaurants, healthcare and hospitality entities, government and educational institutions. The company offers more than 350,000 products including high-quality, exclusive brands and a premium line of specialty ingredients sourced from around the world.  

GKCRA President, Dave Brown: Dave Brown, a Kansas City restaurant veteran, worked for multiple, locally based concepts in the greater Kansas City area. Before entering his current role as vice president of Northstar, Brown became acquainted with the restaurant industry while owning a nightclub and gaining managerial experience with several independent bars. He worked with Applebee’s International Inc. and held major roles in both training and beverage.  In 2004, he joined Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc. as vice president of operations support and regional operations director. Brown joined Northstar Restaurants in 2014, which operates Jose Pepper’s and Cactus Grill restaurants. He is currently serving as the 2015 GKCRA president.

Edwin G. Gray Service Award:  Buddy Lahl of Kingswood Senior Living Community received the 2015 Edwin G. Grey Service Award. This award is an annual award given by the GKCRA Board of Directors to a director that displayed outstanding leadership and assistance in carrying out the objectives of the board in 2014. Lahl’s service to the association extends to his work in education of future restaurateurs, advocating on behalf of the restaurant industry in local, state and federal government and beyond.

Outstanding Allied Director Award: An honor that recognizes exemplary service to the GKCRA. This year’s recipient is Mike Burris of Essential POS.

Workhorse Awards: The GKCRA work horse awards are given each year to members of the board that perform their duties above and beyond in service to the Kansas City restaurant industry.

·         John Roehr, Pepsico

·         Ona Ashley, Johnson County Community College

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