The Ohio Restaurant Association Hall of Fame recognizes industry leaders who devoted a lifetime upholding our core values, while inspiring the next generation of hospitality champions. To be nominated and considered for this designation, an individual or entity must have operated in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality business in Ohio for at least 25 years and be a member of the ORA.

Class of 2022

Suzy DeYoung

Founder of La Soupe in Cincinnati, DeYoung's organization uses discarded food to create delicious and nutritious meals for those in need. Every week Suzy and her crew transform 25,000 pounds of potential food waste into 5,000 meals.

Donald LaRosa

Donald "Buddy" LaRosa founded LaRosa's Pizzeria in 1954 on Boudinot Avenue in Cincinnati. Today, LaRosa's has more than 65 locations across Ohio and Kentucky. As of 2014, it was the 14th largest pizza chain in the United States. 

Dan Ponton

As President and Managing Partner of Roosters, Dan grew the company into a central Ohio staple and the official wing sponsor of Ohio State Athletics. Under his leadership, Roosters is a top 25 employer and often voted best wings in the city.

Class of 2021

Jim Grote

In 1963 Grote founded Donatos Pizza based on the power of positive thinking and the Golden Rule. A Columbus favorite with a National footprint, Donatos was inducted into the Pizza Hall of Fame in 2015. Grote is also the inventor of the Pep-A-Matic, a machine that slices and applies pepperoni directly to pizza.

Class of 2020

Emily Bennett

Chair and President of Bennett Management Corp. (Burger King) and the legendary Tony Packo's in Toledo, Emily oversees more than a thousand employees and operates 25 Burger King locations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. 

Gregory Family

In 1951, Ted and Matula "Mat" Gregory opened the iconic Montgomery Inn in Cincinnati. Ted became known as "The Rib's King" thanks to Mat's homemade barbecue sauce. Today, the Gregory children proudly carry on the family tradition.

Dave Thomas

The legendary founder of Wendy's, the late Dave Thomas, was a true titan of Ohio's restaurant community. Where's the beef? Well, Wendy's is the largest restaurant company based in Ohio and has over 7,000 locations worldwide. 

Class of 2019

Billy Ingram

The Original Craver, E.W. "Billy" Ingram founded White Castle in 1921. 40 years later, in 1961, White Castle became the first fast food chain to sell over 1 billion burgers. The family-owned company has over 300 locations across the U.S.

Cameron Mitchell

With the "dish room to board room story", the legendary Cameron Mitchell founded Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR) in 1993. Today, CMR has has over 40 restaurants across the country with 18 different concepts in 14 states.

Jeff Ruby

In 1981, one of the most iconic restaurateurs in the industry began his career by opening The Precinct in Cincinnati. The concept was quickly followed by Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, which now has 5 locations in 3 states.


Who will be the newest inductees into the Hall of Fame? Join us at our Industry Awards Celebration where we honor the best and brightest in Ohio's hospitality community.