We are honoring a ton of wonderful women in the restaurant industry this week! According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the Iowa Restaurant Association has released their 2020 '40 Women to Watch' winners.

The Iowa Restaurant Association's website says that the organization "promotes, protects, educates and advocates for the restaurant and tavern industries in the state of Iowa" through various programs and services. One of those programs is their '40 Women to Watch' list. The list honors women in prominent positions from all sorts of different areas of the local restaurant industry. Over 100 nominations were sent in this year!

In the official press release from the Iowa Restaurant Association, Jessica Dunker, the president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association spoke about how important these women are to the restaurant industry, especially in 2020. She said, “each and every one of these women not only exemplifies leadership but has exhibited exceptional grace and resilience this year.”

Here are some of the Eastern Iowa women that were recognized this year:

  • Kelley Carter - Operations and General Manager
    • Guild and Ghosted Kitchen, Coralville
  • Melissa Cervantes - Owner
    • Good Restaurant & Lounge | Lost Bear Coffee, Burlington
  • Brittany Hannah - Chef/Owner
    • Bistro 3 Nineteen, Marion
  • Ashton Johnson - Director of Hospitality
    • Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery, Swisher
  • Courtney Johnson - General Manager
    • Martini’s Grille, Burlington
  • Julia Punj - Owner & Sommelier
    • Veraison Wine Bar, Fairfield
  • Briana Smallwood - Co-Owner
    • Vivian’s Soul Food, Cedar Rapids
  • Krista Stramel - General Manager
    • Red Vespa Pizzeria, Solon
  • Rhea Vrana -  Owner
    • Fat Sacks QC, Davenport
  • Kristy Walker - President
    • Walker Homestead Farm & Winery, Iowa City
  • Lenore Zoll - Owner
    • The Fish Store, Cedar Rapids

Each of these amazing women will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Iowa Events Center on November 16th. You can get more information on all of this year's winners on the Iowa Restaurant Association's website HERE!