Illinois Restaurant Association Hits The Century Mark


The Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), the non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant and hospitality industry in Illinois, is proud to celebrate its 100th year of advocacy in 2014.

“We are thrilled to usher in the Centennial year and have brought together a stellar committee of industry leaders to help us pay homage to Illinois’ restaurant history as a whole and the role the IRA has played since its inception,” said Sam Toia, Illinois Restaurant Association President and CEO. “We are enthusiastic about contributing to the industry’s continued growth and look forward to the next 100 years of service!”

The IRA will recognize this significant milestone throughout 2014 in a variety of forums – including a curated display of artifacts in conjunction with the Chicago Culinary Museum and Chef’s Hall of Fame and an online photo and menu collection. Restaurateurs throughout the state are encouraged to submit memorabilia, artifacts, photos and more by contacting In addition, the IRA will feature historic restaurant profiles and contests all year via its Facebook and Twitter channels, and will recognize exceptional members whose lifework has enriched the state’s robust restaurant community through the presentation of the Restaurant Industry Living Legend Awards. Recipients will be honored at the Association’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon held on February 27, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Founded in 1914, the IRA continues to advocate for the foodservice industry, the largest private sector employer in the state. By providing restaurant operators and suppliers with lobbying efforts, valuable business services, networking events, marketing support, educational opportunities and more vital tools to succeed, the IRA serves the needs of this important industry and supports fundraising for the future of food service.

The IRA also celebrates Illinois’ rich culinary diversity, world-class chefs and restaurants annually by organizing events including Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet, Taste of Chicago, From the Chef’s Table, and others.