Each year, the Indiana Restaurant Association selects individuals to be inducted into its Hall of Fame. The esteemed individuals listed below have been recognized for their dedication to the industry and their numerous professional and personal accomplishements.
 
Jay Snyder, Hollyhock Hill, Indianapolis - 2011
For over fifty years, Snyder has worked to maintain and grow this Indianapolis dining institution, which first opened in 1928. In 1960 he began work at Hollyhock Hill as a Groundskeeper and through hard work and dedication eventually became the restaurants’ General Manager. He and his wife Barbara have worked side-by-side as proud owners of Hollyhock Hill since 1992, resulting in continued success even during the economic uncertainty of recent years. Additionally, his civic commitment to the Indianapolis community is far reaching, not only in dollars and cents but also in time and energy. His humble personality, commitment to customer satisfaction and “never meets a stranger” attitude have made him a respected icon within the Indianapolis business landscape. Snyder has been a long time Board Member for the Indiana Restaurant Association, widely known for his outspoken support of the Hoosier hospitality industry. In 2010 he finished a two-year term as Board Chairman of the Indiana Restaurant Association.

Hollyhock Hill Restaurant has been a tradition in “family-style” dining for over 80 years, remaining as one of the few such restaurants of its type in the United States and one of the oldest restaurants in Indiana. Consistently ranked among the top restaurants in the Midwest, Hollyhock Hill is famed for its superior “county-style” cuisine, high standards of service and unique ambiance. Hollyhock Hill is a premiere dining destination in Indianapolis, especially when celebrating special occasions. A resurgence in recent years has landed Hollyhock Hill on the cover of Saveur Magazine and on Travel & Leisure’s “America’s Best” list.
 

Accepting the prestigious award on his behalf was Jonathan’s wife, Ginny, and son, Jonathan Byrd II. Byrd will have his name and photo inscribed on a plaque at IRA headquarters.

Jonathan Byrd 2009

Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria - Greenwood, Indiana

Jonathan Byrd realized very early in life, that there is something significant, and very special about serving people food. In spite of the long hours, the pressure, and the headaches, he knew the business of restaurants gets in your blood.

For all practical purposes, he was born into it. His mom and dad opened up a custard stand in Greenwood and over time, that custard stand expanded selling burgers and fries, the staples of a good, all-American diet. Eventually, the little custard stand grew up to become "The Kitchen Drive-In". "The Kitchen" was the place to be, for the food and for the scene. Typical of restaurants of that day, it was family run. It was the drive-in restaurant of yester-year, with curb service, girls on roller-skates, trays hanging off of car windows, and of course, great food.

"The Kitchen" is where Jonathan Byrd grew up, and came to realize that his life was going to be defined by service, in whatever form that service would take. In the demanding, and always marginally profitable food-service industry, he came to discover that he had a real gift, and it was put to use at a young age. At ten years old, he was flipping burgers, making shakes and frying fries. Just a few years later he was the one working the counter, taking all of the orders, and giving the orders too. Soon it was discovered that Jonathan was the one that could keep their little restaurant humming, running like a well-oiled machine, and turning out those burgers, fries and malt shakes like nobody's business. At the age of fifteen, in the summer of '67, he took charge, and quickly found himself in his element. He was serving people food, making people happy, and loving every minute of it, as he always would. He had, without a doubt, found his place, and part of his calling in life, and there would never again be a time, while he was able, that he did not find himself owning and running a restaurant.
 
A chance meeting with Colonel Sanders found the Byrd family venturing into a dozen Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. Jonathan Byrd at this time also was accepted into the Cornell University School of Hotel & Restaurant Administration. He wrote his entrance paper on the natural correlation between the development of the interstate highway system, and the operation of cafeteria-style restaurants. Though there was prestige attached to attending an Ivy League school, Jonathan only attended a short while, before deciding that his place was back in the kitchen, and at the helm of the family's restaurant operations. For the next twenty years, Jonathan Byrd built his name and his reputation around fried chicken. He became one of the most successful and respected men in the business of foodservice, throughout central Indiana.

The vision of the cafeteria next to the freeway continued to hold a special place in the back of his mind. Finally, nearly twenty years after the vision was born, Jonathan built the restaurant of his dreams. In 1987, the arduous task of bringing Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria into existence was begun. A test kitchen was opened to begin developing recipes, the most important of which was the recipe for Jonathan Byrd's fried chicken. It took over one thousand attempts over the course of a year, to come up with a fried chicken recipe that could successfully bear the weight of the "chicken man's" reputation. Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria sported the longest cafeteria serving line ever conceived, more than two hundred food items made fresh and available every day, a dining room that could seat over five hundred people, a banquet hall and conference center able to play host to groups of more than one thousand, a full-service bakery, and a drive-thru and take out operation for those people that just might not have the time to sit down and enjoy their meals. When it was all said and done, the building that would house Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria, and all of its operations, would comprise 43,000 square feet, just shy of an acre, under roof. When he would reflect on the sheer size of his restaurant, Jonathan would always say, "Never wait twenty years to build the thing that you dream about, because the longer you wait, the bigger it's going to get." The enormity of the facility and the unheard of immensity of operations that takes place under this roof, has made it possible for Jonathan Byrd's to easily serve more than 1,000,000 meals per year, with room and time to spare. And now, twenty years, and more than 20,000,000 meals later, Jonathan Byrd's is still thriving.

Since 2001, Jonathan Byrd’s cafeteria has been the home to the Indiana Restaurant Association ServSafe classes, sharing his restaurant with more than 500 industry folks.

Jonathan Byrd loved to talk about significant events of the Bible, and of the life of Christ that involved food. He has founded over a dozen Christian schools and universities throughout the U.S, and has participated in the placement of over 500 million copies of the Scripture worldwide. He was recognized by Hopegivers International Ministries for support to bible colleges, orphanages, schools, leper colonies, printing presses, radio broadcasting, and churches in India. He co-authored "The Forbidden Book", and has been featured in books such as Rediscovering American Values and Guidepost. He received an honorary doctorate in the humanities from Heritage Baptist University and a doctorate in theology from Emmanuel Ministries.

* Inducted Posthumously
** Deceased
 

Robert Miller -2007

Essenhaus, Middlebury Indiana

The history of the Essenhaus is a story of growth, commitment and the genuine hospitality of Bob and Sue Miller. In 1970 Bob and Sue moved west from Sugarcreek, Ohio to Middlebury, Indiana, purchasing a 24-Hour truck stop known as Everett's Highway Inn. After a week of minor repairs and cleaning, they reopened six days a week as an Amish-Style restaurant, complete with Amish & Mennonite cooks and waitstaff. Bob remembers some local skepticism about the survival of their venture without the cigarette machines and Sunday trade. However, despite the odds, the Millers were committed to pursue their dream of establishing a solid business within one year, and they did. The restaurant, flagship of the campus, has grown from 120 seats to 1,100, and is considered the largest family restaurant in Indiana.

Visitors from all over the United States and many foreign countries have been the Millers' guests. According to Bob, "Our guests are the best anywhere. Their generous praise of our honest-to-goodness home style cooking and energetic waitstaff is what keeps us striving to maintain our quality and service every day. We try hard to make each guest's dream a reality."

In keeping with their goal to fulfill each guest's dream, the Millers have continued to add to their business. Das Dutchman Essenhaus now offers 6 unique shops, an inn with 89 guest-rooms, a 4,000 sq. ft. conference center, catering capabilities (on or off-site), a wholesale food operation, home-style bakery, seasonal carriage rides, and miniature golf all located on the Middlebury, Indiana property.

On a busy day, the restaurant serves 7,000 guests and over 750,000 guests in a year. Essenhaus Foods makes up to 14 tons of noodles in 1 week and purchases flour in 2,200 pound bags.

As the company has grown, so has Miller’s commitment to offering quality services that connect to the talents and important trades of local craftspeople and contribute to the life of the local community. Das Dutchman provides employment opportunities for residents and strives to be an excellent place to work providing a genuine, long-standing commitment to employees, customers, and the larger community.

That commitment is met by sticking to their core values of Excellence, Integrity and Teamwork.
 
Jean Paison -2007

Second Helpings, Indianapolis

Being a certified pastry chef and known for extraordinary baked goods was never enough for Jean Paison. Having worked in a number of restaurants, Jean had seen firsthand the tremendous amount of waste in the food service industry, and at the same time acutely aware that most programs serving the disadvantaged often struggled to provide for their clients' most basic nutritional needs. The first seed Jean planted was the Fisherman Plan based on the Chinese Proverb "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

In 1995 Jean got together with local chefs Kristen Cordoza and Bob Koch. As food service professionals, they knew just how difficult it was to find employees with the skills needed to be productive in a commercial kitchen. Yet they also knew that many adults struggled in poverty and low-wage jobs because they lacked the basic skills that would allow them to earn more and build a career.

So the three chefs set forth to solve all four problems--food waste, hunger, job training, and a source of skilled labor for the local food service industry--with one solution: turn unused food into meals and jobs.

Second Helpings was born in Spring, 1998. In its first full month of operation, 37 volunteers helped rescue 7,000 pounds of food and prepare 3,074 meals.

Second Helpings has grown beyond anyone’s expectations: currently turning over a 100,000 pounds of rescued food into 50,000 meals every month which go to hungry adults and children at over 40 non-profit agencies, including homeless shelters, children’s after-school programs, seniors’ programs and soup kitchens.

As Co-founder and chairman of the board of Second Helpings, Jean is a vibrant leader. Her vision for the organization and her passion for its mission make her a caring and responsible leader.
 
Chef Carl Huckaby - 2006
Chez Jean Restaurant, Indianapolis
Carl Huckaby has been an asset to the Indianapolis restaurant community for over 30 years. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) named Chef Carl Chef of the Year in 1996. He has participated in the World Hunger Tour, and served as Chairman of the Chef & Child Foundation for six years. As president of the Indianapolis Chapter of the ACF, he built the bridge between the Chef Association and the Restaurant Association.

Chef Carl has been an inspiration for culinary students throughout central Indiana, through teaching classes over the years at Arsenal Technical High School, Providence Junior/Senior High School, Ivy Tech State College and as a visiting Chef at Purdue University. He also helped to develop the Junior Chef’s Association and has assisted with ProStart programs.

He is a certified executive chef, a certified executive pastry chef, a certified culinary educator, a food manager professional, a member of the Chef’s Honor Society, and the American Academy of Chefs.

His desire to preserve the fabric of the restaurant scene in Indianapolis inspired him to revitalize the renowned Chez Jean Restaurant. And when he opened a small café in downtown, he revived the nostalgia in all of the community by bringing back the famous Weiss’ Cafeteria ham sandwich. His vision and drive has provided a strong foundation for the restaurant industry here in Indiana.
 
Honorable John Frenz - 2006
Former State Representative, Vincennes - John Frenz is no stranger to hard work for the restaurant and hospitality industry. The co-owner of Montana Mike’s and former franchise owner of five Sirloin Stockades, Frenz joined the board of directors for RHAI in the early 1990s and served as president of the board from 1997-1999.

He became active in his local community’s tourism efforts and was president of the Vincennes/Knox County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Active in other community efforts, he has served as exhaulted ruler of the Vincennes Elks, vice president of the Indiana Junior Chamber of Commerce and president of the Vincennes Jaycees.

His desire to make a difference inspired him to run for the legislature, serving as a state representative from 1996 to 2004. His accomplishments in the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of the restaurant industry include authoring the constitutional amendment that eventually led to the elimination of the inventory tax.
 
Harry Roth - 2005
St. Elmo Steak House, Indianapolis

Harry Roth spent his 39-year career in the Indianapolis restaurant business at St. Elmo Steak House. A southside native, Roth was working in Chicago as an optometrist in 1946 when his brothers Ike and Sam purchased the downtown restaurant for $30,000. When Harry’s brothers left the restaurant business in the mid-1950’s, Harry Roth took childhood friend Izzy Rosen as his partner in St. Elmo Steak House.

Despite the downturn in downtown economy in the sixties, including closure of the Hotel Severin and decline in passenger traffic through Union Station, Roth & Rosen had faith in the future of downtown. In 1970, they purchased the Braden Building and began an interior expansion of the restaurant with a remodeling of what would become St. Elmo’s Tiffany Room.

St. Elmo Steak House established a reputation as the place to see and be seen in downtown Indianapolis. The restaurant’s signature hand-cut steaks and shrimp cocktail attracted patrons locally and nationally. Harry Roth led St. Elmo Steak House to a renowned level of food standards and service expectation. In nearly 40 years in the Indianapolis restaurant business, Harry Roth had made St.Elmo Steak House a household name in the Circle City.

Don "Bud" Hall - 2005
Hall's Restaurants, Ft. Wayne

Bud Hall is part of the second generation carrying on his family business started in 1946 in the Fort Wayne area. The business now boasts 12 restaurants, a hotel, a catering operation and one of few restaurants in the state that operates a commissary and a state inspected meat-cutting department. Hall’s currently employs almost 800 people vividly demonstrating the impact of his business in the community. He is a former board member and Past President of the Restaurant Association and his active participation in industry issues at both the state and local level has had an impact on all restaurants. One of his greatest accomplishments can be seen in the longevity of his employees. The average employment length of his managers is almost 30 years. Many started in the business as high school kids and staying for life-long careers.

 
James Little - 2004
Obie's Buffet, Highland

James Little has been in the foodservice industry for 48 years. In 1966, he opened Obie's Buffet in Highland, the first buffet style restaurant in northwest Indiana. Little found the perfect niche drawing families from the steel mills and related industries by way of a variety of food, comfortable atmosphere and family-friendly pricing. About 25 years ago, Little initiated a nutrition program that caters lunches to senior citizens in northwest Indiana. At the peak of the program, Obie's catered up to 1,800 lunches daily. Recognizing changing trends in the industry, Little opened a dinner theatre utilizing local performers and he became actively involved in the banquet and catering business. As a long time member of the Restaurant Association, Jim was active in helping with grassroots activities. He believed that the National Restaurant Association and state association strengthen the role of restaurant owners by giving them a voice.

Ann Talley - 2004
Ball State University Food Service Management, Muncie

Ann Talley is the first Hall of Fame inductee to come from a nontraditional restaurant. Talley has served Ball State University for forty years in a food service management capacity; the past twenty-two years as Director. She oversees over 50 concepts including food courts, convenience stores, cafeteria dining, catering and faculty restaurants. All together, these operations serve over three million customers annually. She currently serves on advisory panels of Restaurant Business, Restaurants & Institutions, and Food Service Director magazines. Talley received the “Outstanding Administrative Service Award” at Ball State University in 1997, and “Outstanding Alumnus” in 2003.

Robert Edwards - 2004
The Original Pancake House, South Bend

Robert Edwards opened the first Original Pancake House in South Bend in 1963. The restaurant was so successful he opened a second location two years later. Although Edwards retired from the restaurant business, both of his restaurants are still operating and are recognized as the oldest continuously operating restaurant franchise in the city of South Bend. During his years in the restaurant industry, Bob was active with the Restaurant & Hospitality Association of Indiana, serving as President in 1974, and as a board member for 9 years. He continues to help future restaurateurs by volunteering with SCORE, and he has been actively involved with Meals on Wheels for over ten years.

Warren Spangle - 2004
Former CEO of RHAI, Indianapolis

Warren Spangle gave a third of a century of service to Indiana’s restaurant industry, serving as the Restaurant Association’s CEO for 31 years. Under his leadership, the Association enjoyed many achievements that continue to protect the vitality of the Indiana’s restaurant industry. Spangle’s greatest impact on the industry can be found in his success at the statehouse. As a lobbyist for the restaurant industry, Spangle initiated change in several critical areas including labor law, tax law, health regulations, alcohol beverage sales, building codes, franchisee rights and more. The business environment for today’s restaurateurs was significantly shaped by Spangle’s efforts and influence.
 
Tom Spackman, Sr., 2003
Indiana Beach, Monticello

When Earl Spackman opened Ideal Beach in 1926, his son, Tom, could barely reach the counter at the pop stand where he sold pop for 5 cents. This first season saw growing popularity and increasing crowds and by 1927, elaborate plans were made to add a hotel, rental cottages, and toboggan water slide. Soon the greatest challenge became finding sufficient parking space for the ever-growing crowds.

Eventually renamed Indiana Beach, the park has become Indiana’s largest and most beloved vacation spots. The park requires 750 seasonal employees to operate 36 rides, water park, stores, amusements and restaurants at what has been referred to as a “retro-park” melding old-fashion fun with cutting edge attractions.

It is the Beach’s rich and storied history that has contributed to the success it has become today. A keen business sense, fearless tenacity, and a quick responsiveness to the needs of the public were lessons well-learned and lived by Tom Spackman, Sr. According to his daughter and the park’s general manager, Ruth Davis, “Dad’s vision has been the key to our success. He has never been afraid to try something new or something big.” Ruth and her children mark the third and fourth generation involved in this family business.

Tom served as Director of the Indiana Restaurant Association from 1983-1989. His dedication to innovation and interest in the industry led him to found the Indiana Travel & Tourism Association – now called the Promote Indiana Coalition. Some of his accomplishments include

  • Created and funded the Visitor’s Guide and the Lakes Guide to promote Monticello Tourist Industry
  • Pioneered the first Shafer Lake cleanup with the installation of sewage treatment facility
  • Recipient of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce Lakes Award for contributions to further tourism in the Lakes area.
  • Winner of 10 Brass Ring awards for originality, creativity and excellence in marketing, advertising, and promotional campaigns.
  • Reintroduced the traditional wooden roller coaster to the state of Indiana
  • Winner of the State of Indiana “50 year” Small Business Award.
  • Monticello Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award
 
Carl Fogelsong 2003
Clancey's and Grindstone Charley's

In 1965 Carl opened the first Clancy’s restaurant in Noblesville. Within 15 years Carl and his brother had opened 27 of the fast food restaurants filling a niche in small towns throughout Indiana and Ohio. The first two Clancy’s still operate today in Noblesville and Sidney, Ohio. After national chains moved into these smaller markets, Carl showed his tenacity by converting his restaurants to Rax. When Rax closed their corporate stores, Carl again showed his ability to adapt to a changing marketplace, opening a full service division – Grindstone Charley’s.

An earmark of each type of restaurant, Carl’s operations have all showed his devotion to QSC – Quality, Service & Cleanliness.

Carl Fogelsong is also a believer in being involved with the community. His restaurants have sponsored countless ball teams and Carl was involved in creating a viable Boys & Girls Club in Noblesville. He has served on the board for the American National Bank and is active in his church.

 
Guy Welliver 2003
Welliver's, Inc., Hagerstown

In 1946, Guy "Willie" Welliver was fresh from serving his country in World War II and eager to enter the business world. Experienced in retail clothing, he sought a suitable location to open a haberdashery in Hagerstown. The only available location was a small, not too busy restaurant. With a little family-borrowed money, he bought the restaurant with plans to turn it into haberdashery. Guy claimed to know "nothing about running a restaurant," but at a traditional "thrasher's dinner" at his mother-in-law's, Guy got the idea to offer a similar meal in the restaurant offering two or three main dishes and many side dishes, salads and desserts. This was the beginning of his Smorgasbord. Willie hired local housewives with family recipes to prepare the food and he is credited with offering the first salad bar in Indiana.

 

Dave Thomas* 2002
Wendy's, Dublin, OH

Our industry lost a leader and devoted supporter, but his contributions will impact the restaurant industry for years to come. Dave Thomas was well known as a successful businessman and an inspired leader in our industry. Thomas began his career at the age of 12 when he took a job working at a Walgreen’s Drug Store soda fountain. He dropped out of high school to begin working in the restaurant business full time; his early success was with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Little known is his connection to Indiana and more specifically the Indiana Restaurant Association. Before opening his first Wendy’s in 1969, he honed his industry skills at the Hobby House Restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and sold memberships for the Association.

Thomas enjoyed enormous professional success as the senior chairman and founder of Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers. Wendy’s has grown into an international chain of over 6,000 restaurants using his innovative approach to franchising entire territories instead of single Wendy’s units. Wildly popular for his TV commercials, he was never comfortable as a celebrity. “He kept reminding us he was simply a hamburger cook,” said Jack Schuessler, chairman and CEO of Wendy’s. “He was a humble man who was very comfortable in an apron behind a grill or in a business suit in a boardroom.”

Thomas was equally focused on promoting adoption, mentoring and education. He participated as the restaurant and foodservice industry’s spokesperson for National Mentoring Month. He is being awarded the recipient of the Michael E. Hurst Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for his lifelong dedication to strengthening education in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

 

Arni Cohen* 2002
Arni's, Lafayette

Arni Cohen is another industry leader who will be missed. Similar in appearance to Dave Thomas, Arni was known as the “Dave Thomas of Lafayette” with people laughing how much they looked alike - a little on the balding side. And like Dave Thomas, we are grateful for how much he gave back to his profession and to his community. He certainly elevated the image of “restaurateur” in Indiana. His philosophy was, “Work hard today for a better tomorrow.”

Arni believed that restaurant operators should give back to the community. In every city where Arni’s is located, the restaurant participates in community service projects - typically involving matching donations. Arni believed that restaurants have an obligation to give back and that a good restaurant is no different than any other business: the better the business community, the better the restaurant will do.

He endeared himself to community life. Arni served on the City Council of Lafayette beginning in 1999. During his candidacy announcement, Cohen typically poked fun at himself. Cohen said a woman who worked for him for 20 years said, “I understand you’re throwing your fat in the ring.” And another longtime employee said, “I hear you’re running for the position of large councilman.”

The first Arni’s opened for business in 1965 in Lafayette. The restaurant was a popular spot for customers to eat pizza while also listening to up and coming musicians and comedians who played at the restaurant on weekends. “Meet you at Arni’s” is a phrase that continues today as fourth and fifth generations meet at Arni’s.

Arni’s was one of the first restaurants using a “theme” and has won numerous awards for interior design with innovative designs including a semi cab and trailer in the restaurant. Arni’s has also won awards for “Best Pizza” and “Best Place for Kids.”

Arni served on the Board of Directors and after leaving the Board, he expanded his business by opening 9 company stores and 8 franchise restaurants and a full-service commissary. As a Board Member his leadership was invaluable, his opinions respected.

 

Bill Wellman 2002
WhiteCo Industries, Merrillville

Bill served as President of the Indiana Restaurant Association in 1965 and is a past director of the National Restaurant Association as owner of Wellman’s Restaurant, Bowling Lanes, and Bridge VU Dinner Theatre in Valparaiso. Wellman’s Restaurant was considered one of the best restaurants in Indiana and the dinner theatre featured such stars as Dolly Parton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Victor Borge, Duke Ellington and many others. In 1972 he was awarded the “Man of the Year Award” from the Indiana Restaurant Association. Wellman’s closed in 1976 and Bill participated in the design and development of the 3400 seat Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. He continues to be active in the industry with WhiteCo Industries as Senior Vice President of Communications.

Always an advocate for our industry, Wellman is active in his community and is one of the original founders and a Past President of the Northwest Indiana Tourism Council as well as a Past President of the Lake County Convention & Visitors Bureau. In 1986 he was named the Indiana Ambassador of Tourism. For many years he served as President of the Indiana Travel & Tourism Association. He continues to serve on the Lake County CVB and is a member of the Tourism Council to the Indiana Department of Commerce.

 

Nick Ferris 2001
Nick’s Chili Parlor, Indianapolis

In 1974 Nick and his father, after being in the wholesale grocery business, opened their first chili parlor. There were no restaurants specializing in chili at that time in Indianapolis. Nick formulated his own recipe and opened his doors. Those who came on opening day still return to this day. One of those first customers would become Nick’s wife.

Nick’s Chili has won numerous awards including Best Chili in Indinaapolis. Nick thinks the best testimony to his success is the chili he ships to customers as far away as Hawaii. Nicks must be a great place to work – he has employees who have been there from 14-27 years. Nick’s secret is “operating a Human Resource Department that sells food”.

 
Evelyn George 2001**
Carriage House, South Bend

Evelyn George began her career in the restaurant industry as a hostess at Associates Catering. She moved her way up the ranks at Associates Catering to eventually become the Dining Room Manager. Evelyn spent 25 years working diligently at the Carriage House and was an avid participant in fine dining. Her legend is living on today through two children continuing in the business. Her success is evident due to the unusual fact that a fine dining competitor nominated her for the RHAI Hall of Fame. Evelyn will forever be remembered as a innovator and a mentor.

 

Rick Rising-Moore 2000
McDuff Management, Indianapolis

Moore is a mainstay of Indianapolis' restaurant community. His pub-style restaurants are well known throughout the town and he is known as the Mayor of Broad Ripple for his efforts in building the area as a popular nightspot. Rick represented our industry on the first Governor's Task Force to Reduce Drunk Driving. He served as President of the Indiana Restaurant Association in 1985.

 

Wallace Stouder 2000**
Penguin Point Franchise Systems, Warsaw

Wallace E. Stouder began a small quick serve restaurant with his brothers in 1950 in Warsaw, Indiana. Today, Penguin Point operates 15 restaurants in northern Indiana, a catering company and a restaurant equipment company. In 1954, he installed the first “telehop” system in Indiana. This was only the second such system in the country. At the time it was criticized as creating an obstacle course for dining patrons but we know now it was the beginning of the convenient “drive-thru”.

The first restaurant was opened at the junction of State Roads 13 and 15 and still operates today as one of the top units in the chain. Penguin Point is famous for their Tenderloin sandwich that was developed at this location in the early 50's by the company founder, Wallace E. Stouder. Penguin Point has also become widely known for fresh chicken, Idaho French Fries and their double deck Big Wally sandwich. Quality, Variety, and Service continue to be their focus for growth.

Indiana Restaurant Equipment Corporation was acquired in 1964 and is primarily engaged in engineering, design, and installation of institutional kitchens for schools, hospitals, jails, and nursing homes. They also have a 12,000 square foot showroom featuring new and used equipment, supplies, and gifts for the professional or home cooking enthusiast.

Penguin Point Catering was started in 1968 to provide in-house feeding for special events at factories. Today, the Catering Division continues with in-house feeding and has developed a strong following in formal events such as weddings, honor dinners and holiday banquets. Available anywhere in northern Indiana for groups from 30 to 3000, their sample menus are available on this page.

Wally was named Warsaw Businessman of the Year in 1985 for his work in the community. He served as a District Officer for the Indiana Restaurant Association in the ‘70s.

 

Stephen & Robert Teibel 1999
Teibel’s, Schererville

In the summer of 1929, two brothers, Martin and Stephen Teibel purchased some acreage thirty miles south of Chicago in Schererville, Indiana. With the growing popularity of the automobile the brothers saw the possibility of profiting from travelers heading south out of the city. They began their business by building a twelve stool roadside dinner.

By the end of their first year in the restaurant business the great depression had begun but the brothers persevered and by 1933 expanded to thirty seats. The forties saw yet another expansion and addition of a tourist court, a forerunner to the motel.

After World War II, Martin and Stephen were joined in business by their sons Robert and Harold. Under the guidance of the second generation, the restaurant continued to prosper with yet another addition in 1957, this time of 600 seats.

By 1978 grandsons of Marty and Steve had joined their fathers at the restaurant and the third generation was off and running. Guided by 50 years of tradition, Bob Jr. and Stephen continued to prosper and in 1985 expanded the business to the 800 seats it maintains today. Their establishment offers all aspects of the restaurant business-an informal coffee shop, cocktail lounge with entertainment, formal dining room, banquet facilities, carryout service and off-site catering.

 

Robert Wright 1999
Beef House, Covington

Bob Wright's father, Warren, who farmed and raised cattle, wanted a way to get more for his beef. He bought a small hamburger joint, and that's how Bob Wright got his start in the restaurant business in 1964. Steaks were added to the menu and the restaurant was expanded. This was the start of the Beef House.

In 1967, Bob graduated from Purdue University and took over the management of the restaurant. In addition to his degree in Restaurant and Hotel Management, Bob acquired one other irreplaceable item from Purdue, the famous roll recipe!

Bob has always believed in a "hands on" approach to business. The Beef House located at the intersection of I-74 and SR 63 was designed and built by Bob in 1975. His wife and three children have made their business a family affair. The most popular items they serve are the steaks, which are cooked over a charcoal grill. The Beef House serves 400,000 customers each year at lunch and dinner.

The Beef House has been recognized for numerous awards from customers, the media, and the Beef Industry. Midwest living Magazine chose the Beef House as the Best Place to Eat Steak in Indiana in 1988 and 1994. The Indiana Beef Council chose them number one in their Steak Lovers Guide in 1998, and the Beef House has been the recipient of the Beef Backers Award numerous times in the 1990's.

 

Harold Nix 1999
Western Rib-Eye, Evansville

Harold Nix worked in the construction business in Indiana and in 1963 bought a small carry-out chicken store in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Bitten by the restaurant bug, he returned to Indiana in 1970 planning to open his own store. Harold designed and acted as construction foreman on the Western Rib-Eye, which opened in 1975 with two main signature items on the menu-rib-eye steak and lobster tail. A 1979 expansion brought the restaurant and lounge up to 240 seats and a second Western Rib-Eye was built Terre Haute.

Through the years and with increased competition, the Western Rib-Eye has remained focused on serving the finest quality food and offering the best service possible. This attention to detail and sticking to their signature items has made their business more successful than ever. Harold's restaurant career has been a total family affair. He has retired, turning the business over to his sons. David runs the Western Rib-Eye, and Dan runs Jacob's Pub.

 
Robert Ruckreigel 1998
BR Associates, Jasper

A chain operator with nearly 3,000 employees, Bob Ruckriegel is the founder and President of BR Associates in Jasper. Bob opened his first restaurant, Jerry's, in 1964. In 1969, when the fast food concept was in its infancy, the company became a Long John Silver's franchisee, and eventually became the largest Long John Silver's franchisee in the nation. Today BR Associates owns and operates a diverse group of more than 150 restaurants including: Long John Silver's, Wendy's, Grandy's, Denny's, Paco's Mexican and Pizza, and Jerry's Restaurants. Although the company operates in five states, its restaurants are located predominately in Indiana and Kentucky.

Despite continued growth, Bob believes the secret to success is not in the numbers, the secret is the quality of each establishment. You must control the restaurants already open before you move on to open more. BR Associates innovations, such as the Employee Stock Ownership plan which is offered to all workers including hourly employees, has helped the company keep its turnover to well under the national average for restaurants. Bob is an active community leader in Jasper, giving his time to many local and national organizations. He is the recipient of the 1982 Franchisee of the Year Award from the International Franchise Association. In addition, he has been awarded the 1997 Humanitarian of the Year Award from Long John Silver's.

 

Harry Reasner, Jr 1998
Jim Dandy Restaurants, Tipton

In 1955, Harry Reasner built and opened the Riley Park Drive-In in Greenfield and purchased the A & W Root beer Drive-In in Tipton. He developed and began selling the Jim Dandy double deck burger at the Riley Park in 1958 and the A & W in 1961. In 1964, the all new Jim Dandy Drive-In, named for the sandwich which headed its menu, was opened in Noblesville. Now, there are Jim Dandy Restaurants in Elwood, Frankfort, Wabash, Marion, and North Vernon. In 1988, the original Polar Bear frozen custard store was converted to an all-new Dairy Queen. He now owns Dairy Queen establishments in Noblesville, Frankfort, Elwood, Greenfield, and Crawfordsville. He has employed thousands of Indiana citizens over the years.

For many of his employees, he has set a great example in leadership and work ethic, while at the same time being employer, mentor and friend. He remains the Chairman of the company, but has turned over the day-to-day operation to his sons, David and Brent. Harry Reasner served as President of the Restaurant and Hospitality Association from 1988-90.

 
Procopio LoDuca* 1998
Giovanni’s, Munster

Procopio LoDuca began his career at a small snack shop in Hammond. During the 1950's, he bought the business, named it Pro's Snack Shop, and expanded its menu to include breakfast, lunch and dinner. On July 1, 1966, Procopio and his wife Nancy bought a small pizza restaurant in Munster and again expanded its menu. In 1976, they enlarged and remodeled Giovanni's to its size today. He was a hands-on owner with a vast memory of his customers. He would call them by name and remember details about their children and special foods they liked. He knew how to motivate and encourage his employees to do their best work. His was one of the first restaurants in his area to serve fine wines by the glass. Other people thought he was crazy, but this innovation helped to expand the business. Giovanni's Restaurant has never coasted on reputation, but is always looking for new ideas while keeping trademark dishes for twenty years.

Procopio died in September of 1994, but his family keeps the restaurant moving forward in his memory.

 
Charles Laughner 1997
Laughner’s Cafeteria, Indianapolis

Charles Laughner is the chief executive officer of a business with a distinct Hoosier personality. Laughner's has been run by four generations of the same family that may be best described by a sign present in every store, "This Way To Good Eating".

Charles Laughner has been described as the family visionary, a kind of Renaissance man, who brought the laughner heritage to fruition in the distinct style of today's cafeterias. When he was young, he wanted no part of the food-service business but he left a more lucrative job as a vault setter for a crypt company to return to the family business when his mother retired. He explained his return to food service by saying, "That's what we Laughners do".

He sees himself as the idea man but he is also a fanatic about details. His innovations include a drive-in hamburger restaurant, featuring a sandwich with two ground-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, a special sauce, and mayonnaise on a toasted double-deck sesame-seed bun; and menu items never before seen in cafeterias. His restaurants offer good food, good service, innovation and tradition all rolled into a great dining experience. Charles Laughner and his family are a shining example of how hard work and dedication to providing a quality product leads to success. We hope they will continue to be part of our state's restaurant community for generations to come.

 
Charles Kelso 1997
Iron Skillet, Indianapolis

Charles Kelso and his wife, Patricia, purchased the Iron Skillet Restaurant in May of 1956, and for forty years have been committed to providing outstanding service and quality dining. Recognized for its famous fried chicken and unique family style dining experience, the Iron Skillet has received accolades from area residents, local media, and celebrities alike. Visiting Kelso's operation for a pleasant evening of great food and good company continues to be a tradition among Indianapolis 500 enthusiasts from race fans to race participants. A similar following has developed with the Brickyard 400.

Kelso has entertained many dignitaries through the years, including Indiana Governors, Mayors, United States Congressmen and Senators, and a United States President, John F. Kennedy. In 1989, the Commander and crew of the USS Indianapolis presented him with a U.S. flag flown over their ship at Pearl Harbor to honor his dedicated service to his customers.

Charles Kelso has enjoyed success as an independent entrepreneur that is rare in the restaurant industry. His commitment to excellent food service, while ensuring that visitors to his establishments are treated like guests at his home, has earned him a loyal following and the respect of his peers. A long-time member of the Indiana Restaurant Association, Kelso is now semi-retired.

 

Gary Gerard 1996
Red Geranium Enterprises, New Harmony

 

Raymond Dault 1996
RHIM Purdue University, Indianapolis

 

Dick Barnes 1996
Nick’s English Hut, Bloomington

Barnes began his foodservice career in 1954 at Café Pizzeria. He acquired Nick's, a 70-seat haven for IU students in 1957, which today can accommodate 350 hungry, thirsty patrons. He is the only Hoosier to win the National Licensed Beverage Association's "Tavern Owner of the Year Award", which he did in 1968 and 1969. He is a past Director of the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association, the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, and the IU Alumni Council.

 

Hubert Kelso 1995
Hollyhock Hill, Indianapolis

After college and a stint with Uncle Sam, Hubert "Hugh" Kelso purchased Hollyhock Hill, a family-style restaurant, in 1947. At that time, there were 70 seats and your complete meal was less than three dollars. In 1992, he turned the ownership of the now 150 seat Indianapolis landmark over to his employee since 1958, Jay Snyder. He was Show Chairman, Past President and Director of the Restaurant and Hospitality Association. He was president of the Williams Creek Town Board for 4 years, also.

 

E.M. “Sonny” Cobb 1995
SunQuest Systems, Indianapolis

"Sonny" became involved in the restaurant industry in 1954 with his father to operate the Hoosier Pete Restaurant in Indianapolis. He co-founded the Indiana based Waffle House Family Restaurant chain in 1965. Currently there are 38 units in Indiana and Ohio with chainwide sales of $30 million. He is active in community affairs and in 1980 helped coordinate efforts with Waffle House and Bob Knight to raise $40,000 for a statewide "Pancake Day' for an 11 year olds bone marrow transplant.

He has participated in fundraisers for the Children's Bureau of Indianapolis and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. In 1987, Waffle House Restaurants became the first corporate sponsor and its locations became Operation Safe Place sites to help protect endangered children. He has served on the Restaurant and Hospitality Association Show Committee and the Indiana State Egg Board.

 
Bob Shanks, Mr. Happy Burger, Logansport 2011
Bob Shanks recently celebrated 50 years in business. When Mr. Happy Burger first opened, there were two businesses on the highway between his restaurant and Peru. The restaurant was the first fast-food establishment in Cass County. Shanks has spent most of the last five decades operating sandwiched between two fast food giants: McDonald’s and Burger King. With his core values firmly in place, Mr. Happy Burger remains closed on Sunday, even while at a competitive disadvantage. With a dose of nostalgia, Mr. Happy Burger makes you feel like you are in the 50’s. First sight is the giant cow statue out front. Inside, it is a quirky decor, with Coca Cola memorabilia and the "Happy Trolley" where kids eat free. Generations have filled the seats making memories or reliving childhood memories. But Shanks is part of one of the hottest trends – he serves locally grown beef – and has for 50 years.

In 2005, Mr. Happy Burger was a recipient of the Indiana Restaurant Association Good Neighbor Award. If you’ve seen sponsor lists for school, charity or service club events in the past 50 years, you’ve probably seen Mr. Happy Burger as one of the sponsors.

Snyder and Shanks joins other notable restaurateurs like Dave Thomas (Wendy’s), Charles Laughner and Harry Roth (St Elmo’s) as only the 40th Hall of Fame inductees in the associations’ 75-year history.
 

Caroline “Chuggie” Adams 1995
Strongbow Inn, Valparaiso

Caroline Reed Thrun Adams literally grew up in the restaurant business. She was just 11 when her mother, Bess Russell Thrun, opened the Strongbow Turkey Inn alongside the newly constructed US Highway 30, in 1940. Through her teen years, she worked along her mother's side learning from her. Caroline attended Valparaiso University and then Arizona State. Her husband, Chuck Adams, and her returned to Indiana to join in the family business. The restaurant thrived under their management, with nearly constant additions and renovations. The seating capacity grew from its original 28 seats to over 400.

Caroline has been a member of the Indiana Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association for more than 40 years. Caroline was a Director of the Indiana Restaurant Association from 1985-1988 and a member of the porter County Tourism Commission in 1990-1992. Throughout the years, Caroline has influenced the lives of many young people who have worked with her, and has been a mentor and inspiration to those who went on to careers in foodservice.

 

Stephen Huse 1994
Huse Food Group, Bloomington

Huse stared in this industry as a partner/operator of an Arby's in Bloomington in 1957. This business has grown to 9 units with sales of 5.1 million dollars. He founded Noble Roman's Inc. in 1969. Noble Roman's went public in 1982 and today has system sales of nearly $50 million dollars. After resigning as Chairman in 1986, he purchased the historic St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis, which is one of America's top 100 restaurants. He currently has development rights for Miami Subs Grill, Kenny Rogers Roasters, and Checkers Double Drive Thru for Central Indiana. Steve is a past president of the Restaurant and Hospitality Association and is an honorary director of the National Restaurant Association.

 

Larry Hanselman 1994
Schnitzelbank Restaurant, Jasper

Larry began his career in 1961 with a 50-seat neighborhood bar. The Schnitzelbank has grown to 300 seats along with developing one of the largest catering businesses in southern Indiana. The restaurant has made Restaurant Hospitality Magazine's top 500 independent restaurants for several years. He is a former owner of Gabes' Restaurant, Owensboro, KY; Lincoln Trail Restaurant and Motel, Tell City; and the Best Western Dutchman Inn, Huntingburg. He is a past Director of the Indiana Restaurant Association and the Jasper Chamber of Commerce.

 
* Inducted Posthumously
** Deceased
 
 
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