Top Restaurant and Hotel Industry Members Recognized by Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Four members of Oregon’s food and lodging industry were recognized as 2019 Oregon Hospitality Industry Award recipients by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) during the annual Conference in September. Chuck Hinman, Best Western Plus Hood River Inn was named Lodging Operator of the Year; Kurt Huffman, ChefStable (Portland) was named Restaurateur of the Year; Dorothy Petersen, Papa Murphy’s (Junction City) was named Employee of the Year; and Togather Restaurant Consulting was named Allied Partner of the Year.
The recipients of these awards were recognized among their peers and over 330 delegates of ORLA’s Hospitality Conference on September 17, 2019, at the Seaside Convention Center in Seaside, Oregon.
“Oregon’s hospitality industry is teeming with individuals who contribute significantly to the health of the trade,” says Jason Brandt, president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “These winners represent not only some of our industry’s most dedicated leaders and advocates, but also the exemplary service that sets the high standard for the entire industry to achieve.”
Lodging Operator of the Year: Chuck Hinman, general manager of the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn, has worked in the hospitality industry his entire career, primarily in hotel management in the Seattle, Portland and Hood River markets. He’s managed the Hood River Inn since early 1990, shortly after it was acquired by owner group D.M. Stevenson Ranch. Chuck has been a tireless advocate of the hospitality industry, engaging on issues impacting businesses and his local community. He served several years on ORLA’s Board of Directors and was Chair of the lodging association during the merger with the restaurant association in 2010.
Restaurateur of the Year: Kurt Huffman, owner of ChefStable, is well-known in the Portland restaurant scene as a passionate advocate for the industry. Under his vision and leadership, ChefStable, a hospitality management group and consultancy, has opened over forty restaurants in Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas and beyond over the last ten years. ChefStable partners with talented and passionate chefs to design, build and operate restaurants, bars, catering and more–taking care of all of the operational details so its partners can focus on food and service. Kurt also provides leadership for the Portland Kitchen Cabinet, an ORLA-sponsored civic engagement program committed to growing and preserving opportunity in the restaurant industry.
Employee of the Year: Dorothy Petersen has been with Papa Murphy’s for close to 20 years and has become a fixture in the Junction City community. Dorothy knows almost every customer and goes out of her way to make every guest welcome and appreciated. She even inspired a young frequent customer to write a school paper on how he wanted to “be like Dorothy.” As store manager, she supervises a team of mostly young people, and often sees her role as a “mom” to them. Dorothy teaches the young employees more than just how to make a pizza, but also some key interpersonal and life skills.
Allied Partner of the Year: Togather Restaurant Consulting helps business owners with start up, turn around, staff training, menu creation, branding and marketing, and analysis and evaluations. Seth Gruschow, founder and owner of Togather, leads a dynamic team of professionals in working with influencers and innovators to create a networking web of local and reliable businesses. Togather serves as a tremendous resource to the industry by sharing their expertise at events and sponsoring programs like the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational.
For more information on the Hospitality Industry Awards, visit OregonRLA.org/Awards.