The mood was festive and the energy high Saturday at the Missouri Restaurant Association and Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association 2014 Inaugural Ball.
MRA and GKCRA recognized many members at the banquet at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, but much attention was focused on one in particular: Ron Barkley, a longtime industry presence who died Sept. 14, 2013, at age 73.
The Missouri Restaurant Association and Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association held their 2014 Inaugural Ball at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center in Kansas City.
The Missouri Restaurant Association and Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association held… more
KATIE BEAN | KCBJ
Barkley had worked for Gilbert/Robinson restaurant company, PB&J Restaurants and Anderson Restaurant Group during his career. He was GKCRA president in 1996 and MRA president in 2004, and he was named to the MRA Hall of Fame in 2001.
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The associations sought to memorialize Barkley by creating a Ron Barkley Scholarship Fund, for which they sought donations in a live-auction style at the event. Companies and some individuals pledged funds from $500 to $5,000, raising $34,000 in about half an hour.
Some other highlights from the evening:
Tom Deer accepted the 2013 Company of the Year award for A.J. Goss Distributors Inc., a distributor of Hiland Dairy Foods Co.
Alan Gaylin of Bread & Butter Concepts was named 2013 Restaurateur of the Year. His restaurants include Gram & Dun, BRGR Kitchen + Bar, Urban Table and Taco Republic.
Bob Hines of Osage Marketing Inc. accepted the 2013 Distinguished Service Award via pretaped video because he was on vacation in Hawaii.
2013 MRA Hall of Fame inductees were Greg Hunsucker and his mother-in-law, “Mama V” Vita Totta, of V’s Italiano Ristorante. Hunsucker said though Totta retired 20 years ago, she still comes to the restaurant every day.
Zach Doerfler of Treat America Food Services, outgoing 2013 GKCRA president, praised members of the restaurant community for supporting the staff of JJ’s Restaurant after a gas leak in February caused an explosion that destroyed the building, killing one woman and injuring 14.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James made a proclamation declaring Jan. 11, a day to recognize Bart Hickey for his contributions to the community and especially with regard to providing support for JJ’s. Hickey, of The Capital Grille, is 2014 GKCRA president. Hickey thanked James and jokingly attributed the winning seasons of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals teams to the mayor’s leadership.