The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association (GKCRA) will host a Centennial Anniversary and Inaugural Gala to kick off its 100th anniversary on January 30 at the Sheraton Kansas City Crown Center Hotel. The Centennial Celebration will recognize Kansas City’s pioneering efforts as the birthplace of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), as well as serve as the inauguration for 2016 Missouri Restaurant Association (MRA) President Buddy Lahl and 2016 GKCRA President James Eddy.

The GKCRA was established in 1916 in order to take a stand against the rising cost of eggs; when these efforts received national attention, the same group launched the NRA in 1919. The group was comprised of key members, including George Fowler, Myron Green, Guy Taylor, A.B. Carder, and W. J. Holt. The NRA headquarters remained in Kansas City until 1927.

Fowler was father-in-law to Joseph Gilbert Sr. of the iconic Gilber/Robinson restaurant group, who went on to help form the Missouri State Restaurant Association. As the local chapters continued to grow and the NRA continued to grow, statewide organizations formed with local chapters becoming affiliates in a more formal structure. The Missouri State Restaurant Association (MRA) was founded September 26, 1935. The GKCRA is an affiliate of the MRA as well as the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association (KRHA). 

The Centennial Celebration is a significant restaurant industry event, celebrating Kansas City icons, respected leaders, past GKCRA presidents, and the current leaders making an impact. The event brings together restaurant industry leaders, partners, civic organizations, and political representatives from the bi-state area to commemorate the anniversary of the GKCRA, as well as the origin of the NRA. The Centennial Celebration celebrates the history of the organization and sets the stage for the next generation of leadership and commitments to the American Dream. 

The event will include an industry keynote address from current NRA president and CEO Dawn Sweeney, who will be attending the Centennial Celebration with other NRA representatives. Sweeney’s address will focus on Kansas City and the GKCRA’s pivotal role in restaurant industry leadership and the original birthplace of the NRA.  

The Centennial Celebration not only recognizes the GKCRA’s leadership and representation of the restaurant industry for the past 100 years, but also the restaurant industry’s continued expansion as the second largest employer in the nation. Guests will experience Kansas City’s past 100 years in the restaurant industry through presentations, historical photos and more.

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