An unforgettable evening celebrating Ohio's Best & Brightest!
February 23, 2020
Hilton Columbus Downtown, George Bellows Ballroom
On February 23, 2020, we experienced the grandest night of the year for the Ohio Restaurant Association at the Columbus Hilton Downtown, honoring industry champions, hospitality legends and the dedicated individuals and organizations representing the best of the best: our members.

The ORA celebrated the achievements of three of Ohio’s most outstanding restaurateurs, outstanding vendor and educator, leading industry innovator, tech titan, rising star and many more, and closed out the evening by paying homage to the newest inductees into the Ohio Restaurant Association Hall of Fame. On this night, we honored all of you — the dreamers and doers, the industry trailblazers, the cornerstones of your communities — working every day to write the hospitality story of the next 100 years.

Congratulations to our 2020 winners!

Hall of Fame
Dave Thomas, Wendy's
Hall of Fame
The Gregory Family, The Montgomery Inn
Hall of Fame
Emily Bennett, Burger King franchisee & Tony Packo's Toledo, LLC
Lifetime Achievement
Kamal Boulos, The Refectory
Outstanding Restaurateur - Northern
The Booker Family of Boardwalk Family of Restaurants, Put-In-Bay
Outstanding Restaurateur - Southern
Maria Papakirk of Camp Washington Chili, Cincinnati
Outstanding Restaurateur - Central
Julie Chuang of House of Japan, Columbus
Tech Titan
John Lanni, Thunderdome Restaurant Group
Rising Star
Letha Pugh, Bake Me Happy
Sparkle Award
Rita Foos, Rita's 
Dairy Bar
Nourishing the Community
Paula Haines, 
Freedom a la Cart
Outstanding Vendor
John & Fred Kappus, Kappus Company
Front of House
Ignacio Orduna, Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern
Back of House
Dori Kay Strom, Jason’s Deli
Industry Innovator
Zach James, Central Ohio Food Truck Association
Outstanding Educator
Chef Enzo Sclama, Hocking College Culinary
Outstanding Public Official
Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton
Staff Member of the Year
Laura Morrison, Managing Director of Membership & Employer/Food Safety
Board Member of the Year
Adrian Adornetto, Adornetto's Selected Italian Foods 
Award Categories: 
The Claude F. Morton, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award: The ORA’s highest award given to one restaurateur for exceptional lifetime service to the restaurant industry and his/her community. Nominees must have been an ORA member for 10+ years.

Outstanding Restaurateur Award: A restaurateur(s) recognized for his/her extraordinary contributions to the restaurant industry – a leader that implements innovative ideas, demonstrates passion for the industry and their community. One winner selected from the following regions: Northern Ohio, Central Ohio and Southern Ohio.

Outstanding Vendor Award: A company recognized for its exceptional service to the restaurant community.

Outstanding Public Official Award: This award honors public officials who fight for the best interest of small business owners and the restaurant community.

Outstanding Industry Educator: This award honors an educator who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the advancement of the Ohio foodservice industry.

Industry Innovator: This award is presented to an individual or company that has applied a new product or creative approach, resulting in the growth or transformation of their business.

Sparkle Award: This award honors a restaurant or company with an outstanding cleanliness and food safety record.

Tech Titan: Recognizing an individual or organization for their use of technology to enhance their business or impact the foodservice industry.

Rising Star: Honors an emerging leader in the foodservice industry – one whose work demonstrates ongoing exceptional growth and high potential for future impact.

Nourishing the Community: Recognizing an individual or organization for their outstanding contributions through community service or charitable involvement.

Front of House Award: Serves as a model employee by displaying an outstanding work ethic, excellent customer service and is a leader among their peers. Nominees must be in a non-managerial position at an Ohio Restaurant Association member restaurant.

Back of House Award: Serves as a model employee by displaying an outstanding work ethic, excellent attention to detail and is a leader among their peers. Nominees must be in a non-managerial position at an Ohio Restaurant Association member restaurant.

Hall of Fame: The ORA’s Hall of Fame was founded in 2018 with a purpose of recognizing the best and brightest leaders in the industry who have served with distinction and align with the ORA’s core values. To be nominated and considered for this prestigious designation, an individual or entity must have operated in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality business in Ohio for at least 25 years and be an ORA member.