The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) has announced the 2016 chairman of the board for the association, Paul Baldasaro, current executive committee member for the GRA and chief operating officer of Home Grown Industries of Georgia, d/b/a Mellow Mushroom, a 40 year-old Atlanta icon brand featuring craft pizza, hoagies, salads and munchies.

Before Home Grown Industries of Georgia, Baldasaro was at the helm of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group team as chief operating officer. This allowed him to lead the Zero Waste Zone initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of Atlanta restaurants. He oversaw the marketing, human resources, operations, and purchasing departments, and helped expand the company, opening several high profile locations. Previously, Baldasaro spent 10 years as vice president of the specialty restaurant division of the Landry’s Restaurant Group in Houston, Texas. During that time, he was responsible for overseeing the company’s expansion into mixed-use entertainment properties. He has also served as regional director of operations for Levy Restaurants, heading up their Disney operations and restaurants throughout the Midwest and East Coast.

As chairman of the board, Baldasaro will serve as the chief spokesperson for the industry as well as for the association and will lead the GRA board of directors, protecting industry operators and their interests. The chairman of the board also partakes in several GRA functions throughout the year including the Taste of Georgia Legislative Reception in February, the GRA Golf Tournament in June, the Chairman’s Reception in September, and the GRACE Awards gala in November.

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