ORA Taps HOF, Industry Award Recipients

2022 ORA Industry Awards

COLUMBUS — The founder of a local wings restaurant chain and a Columbus brewer were among the honorees last month at the Ohio Restaurant Association’s annual Industry Awards Celebration.

Dan Ponton, founder and president of Columbus-based Roosters, was inducted into the Ohio Restaurant Association Hall of Fame, which recognizes individuals for their lasting impact on the state’s food scene with more than 25 years of service to Ohio’s hospitality community. He was joined by Donald “Buddy” LaRose, founder of LaRosa’s Pizzeria in Cincinnati, and Suzy DeYoung, founder of La Soupe in Cincinnati.

The ORA also recognized the best of Ohio’s hospitality community with 15 awards, including Industry Innovator, which was presented to Tim Ward, co-founder of North High Brewing in Columbus. John Irmscher, president of Irmscher Management Services in Celina, was presented the association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Six award winners were selected by a public vote: Iron City Sports Bar in Bellefontaine, owned by Matt Brown, Best Community Partner; The Skyway East in Mansfield, owned by Buzz Smith, Best Restaurant North; Kona Craft Kitchen in Dublin, owned by Stacy and Frank Leary, Best Restaurant Central; Amar India Restaurant in Dayton, owned by Surjit Mattu, Best Restaurant South; Dan Allen of Old Market House Inn in Zanesville, Best Guest Experience Provider; and Ethan Houze of Der Dutchman in Walnut Creek, Best

Behind the Scenes Employee.

Other award recipients included Lisa Gutierrez, co-founder of Dos Hermanos in Columbus, Rising Star; Ken and Jessica Hatfield, owners of Hatfield’s Goode Grub in Cleveland, Spotless Award; Treva Weaver, co-owner of Zoup! Eatery and COO of N. Wasserstrom in Columbus, ORA Ambassador; GBQ Partners in Columbus, Outstanding Vendor Award; Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Blaine Griffin, Cleveland City Council president, Outstanding Public Officials; Anthony Hamilton and Andrew Eith, Kent State University, Outstanding Industry Educator; and Charlie Noftz from Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers in Tiffin, Ohio ProStart Student of the Year.