October 7, 2020

2020 40 Women to Watch in Hospitality Honorees Announced

October 7, 2020
2020 40 Women to Watch in Hospitality Honorees Announced
Iowa Restaurant Association Invites Public to Celebrate on Nov. 16, 2020 with Award Winners
October 5, 2020- Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Restaurant Association today released its 2020 40 “Women to Watch” in Hospitality List. The honorees hail from nearly every segment and function in the industry-from purveyors and entrepreneurs, to chefs and business development professionals. More than 100 nominations were submitted from across the state. All showcased women in Iowa’s hospitality industry who are blazing new trails, leading by example, and impressing their peers, customers and managers daily.
The 2020 List includes: (Photos Available Upon Request)
• Ali Brackett, Assistant General Manager/Director of Catering,
Spectra Food Services & Hospitality at the Iowa Events Center, Des Moines
• Allyson Tilk, Regional Supervisor, @McDonald’s-Racoon Valley Partners Ownership Group, Stuart
• Amy Walsh, Owner/GM, Mickey’s Irish Pub, Waukee
• Ashton Johnson, Director of Hospitality, Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, Swisher
• Betsy Duffy, Owner, Gezellig Brewing Company, Newton
• Briana Smallwood, Co-Owner, Vivian’s Soul Food, LLC, Cedar Rapids
• Chef Brittany Hannah, Chef/Owner, Bistro 3 Nineteen, Marion
• Cande Coulter, Owner, Simply Mae’s, Story City
• Chelsea Johnsen, Owner, Sisters in Cheese, Madrid
• Courtney Johnson, General Manager, Martini’s Grille, Burlington
• Chef Cyd Koehn, Chef Owner, Cyd’s Catering, Johnston
• Diane Stanley, Hospitality Facilitator, Scott Community College, Davenport
• Heidi Baratta, Owner, Baratta’s Steakhouse, Carroll
• Jenn Mullin, Regional Marketing Manager, Sysco Iowa, Ankeny
• Jenny Oaks, Owner, Sweet Oaks Bake Shoppe, Collins
• Jessica Baldus, Owner, Taste by Unc’s Cheesecakes, Osage
• Jonita Boyer, Winemaker, Tassel Ridge Winery, Leighton
• Julia Punj, Owner & Sommelier, Veraison Wine Bar, Fairfield
• Kathleen Gill, District Manager, Full Court Press, Des Moines
• Kelley Carter, Operations and General Manager, Guild and Ghosted Kitchen, Coralville
• Kelley Crawford, Director of Purchasing, Pizza Ranch Support Center, Orange City
• Kelsey Sutter, Marketing/Programs Director, Iowa Pork Producers, Clive
• Krista Stramel, General Manager, Red Vespa Pizzeria, Solon
• Kristen Meyers, Owner, Party on Des Moines!, Des Moines
• Kristy Walker, President, Walker Homestead Farm & Winery, Inc., Iowa City
• Lenore Zoll, Owner, The Fish Store, Cedar Rapids
• Mariela Maya, Co-owner, Panka Peruvian, Des Moines
• Melissa Cervantes, Owner, Good Restaurant & Lounge & Lost Bear Coffee, Burlington, Iowa
• Michele Buzbee, Owner, Hive Hospitality, Marshalltown
• Millisa Reynolds, Operators Manager, Hospitality at Parks Marina, Okoboji
• Misty Fontanini, Owner, Curbin’ Cuisine, Des Moines
• Molly Frana, Owner & Brewer, Brightside Aleworks, Altoona
• Rebecca Casey, Owner/Operator, MyTown2Go/Delivery.com, Des Moines
• Chef Rhea Vrana, Owner, Fat Sacks QC, Davenport
• Sammy Mila, Culinary Specialist/Food Stylist, Meredith Corporation, Des Moines
• Sarah Chem, Owner, 5 Borough Bagels, Clive
• Sondra Romeo, Director of Human Resources, Lakeside Hotel Casino, Osceola
• Susan Frantz, Owner/Head Brewer, Fenceline Beer Lab, Huxley
• Teresa Court, District Manager, Johnson Brothers of Iowa, Davenport
• Vivette Perry, General Manager, Americana Restaurant, Des Moines
Honorees will be featured in Food and Beverage Iowa Business Quarterly. In addition, a synopsis of each woman’s industry story will be launched on the Iowa Restaurant Association website. The honorees will be recognized in person in on November 16, 2020 at the Iowa Events Center (Community Choice Convention Center) during the Iowa Restaurant Association’s annual Celebrating Excellence Awards Ceremony.
For more info and to purchase tickets for the Celebrating Excellence Awards Ceremony visit restaurantiowa.com.
“Although women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, they are still building meaningful careers in every segment of the restaurant industry. 58% of foodservice supervisors and 49% of foodservice managers are women, far above the averages in nearly every other industry,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “Each and every one of these women not only exemplifies leadership but has exhibited exceptional grace and resilience this year.”
About the Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association provides advocacy, education and promotional support to Iowa’s restaurant and tavern industry. www.restaurantiowa.com
October 1, 2020

Iowa Restaurant Association Names Industry Award Winners

October 1, 2020

Iowa Restaurant Association Names Industry Award Winners

Public Invited to November 16 Gala and Awards Event Celebrating Honorees

For Immediate Release   Thursday, October 1, 2020 – Des Moines, IA –On November 16th the Iowa Restaurant Association will present its annual state hospitality awards at the Community Choice Convention Center in Des Moines.   “This event is a much needed celebration of one of Iowa’s most resilient and important industries,” said Jessica Dunker President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “After the challenges we’ve faced this year, we’re ready to honor hospitality professionals who exemplify innovation and business acumen, as well as shine a light on the significant contributions they’ve made to their communities and Iowa’s hospitality culture.”   2020 Award Winners:   Operator of the Year– Matt Johnson, Barley’s Bar, Council Bluffs Chef of the Year– Chef Jeremy Moskowitz, Duck City Bistro, Davenport Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year – Katy Nelson, Scenic Route Bakery, Des Moines Hospitality Employee of the Year– David Basinger, Rodina, Cedar Rapids American Dream Award– Suman Hoque, HoQ, Des Moines Faces of Diversity Award– Lorena Bryan, Delicias by Lorena, Des Moines Purveyor Partner of the Year– Justin Woodard, Sysco Iowa, Ankeny Industry Champion– Ryan Achterhoff, Pizza Ranch, Orange City ProStart Educator of Excellence – LaRae Arment, Alburnett High School, Alburnett Restaurant Neighbor Philanthropy Award– Nick Kuhn, The Hall DSM, West Des Moines Legislator of the Year– Senator Craig Johnson, Senate District 32, Independence   New this year is a Rural Operator of the Year Award which was created to recognize the role and importance of restaurants and taverns in Iowa communities with fewer than 1,000 people. The inaugural recipient of this award is Mike Muller of Grace on Main in Elk Horn (population 610).   In addition to the Celebrating Excellence Awards Ceremony which will feature the honorees, the Association will host its Annual Tasting Gala featuring food and beverage from its statewide Culinary and Mixology Competitions.   Attendees will be able to sample the competition dishes from Iowa chefs as well as cocktail creations from the state’s top mixologists. Attendees will be able to cast a vote for their favorite dish and cocktail. Wine pairings and spirits will also be available to sample. The tasting event begins at 4:00 pm followed by the awards program at 5:30 pm.   The event is open to the public, Tickets are $25 and available at www.restaurantiowa.com   ###    
January 9, 2020

Iowa Restaurant Association Announces Vice President

January 9, 2020
For Immediate Release Thursday, January 9, 2020-Des Moines- The Iowa Restaurant Association today announced the promotion of Stacy Kluesner from Director of Marketing and Association Development to Association Vice President. Kluesner joined the Iowa Restaurant Association in the spring of 2012 and has led the charge on the trade association’s revenue programs including membership, sponsorship, events and the reintroduction of the annual Iowa Hospitality EXPO.  She has also worked tirelessly to promote and advocate on behalf of operators across the state. “Stacy has been absolutely critical to the Association’s efforts to elevate the image and presence of the industry at the community and statewide level,” said Jessica Dunker, President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association.  “In her new role, she will further expand the outlets to promote Iowa’s hospitality operations.” Kluesner assumed her new role on January 1, 2020.


Iowa Restaurant Association The Iowa Restaurant Association provides advocacy, education and promotional support to Iowa’s restaurant and tavern industry. www.restaurantiowa.com Media Contact Emilee Zimmerman Public Relations Specialist ezimmerman@restaurantiowa.com 515-276-1454