2021-22 Board of Directors

Introducing the 2021-22 MRA Board of Directors

President

Mike Miller

Mike Miller, Patricks

  • Owner/operator of Patrick’s for over 15 years and have worked in the industry for over 35 years.
  • Past MRA President and Board member 2007-2012
  • 2015 MRA Restaurateur of the Year
  • 2019 TN State Restaurateur of the Year
As president
  • Hired our first MRA Lobbyist
  • Re-engaged with state Hospitality Assn Implemented term limits for MRA Board
  • Started MRAPAC and began working to build representation with state and local officials as well as influencing industry-related legislation
My Goals
  • Work to rebuild an inclusive membership that shares ideas, communicates, listens, and responds to member needs.
  • Continue to build MRAPAC awareness, understanding, and impact
  • Update MRA By-Laws to address structural and directional changes Build continuity for the future through clear communication, accountability, and implementation of structural expectations

Board

Shawn Danko, Kooky Canuck

I was born in Montreal Quebec Canada and started working in my uncle’s bar at the age of 12. I began working for the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto and, over 13 years, was promoted from bouncer to Assistant GM to GM. I moved to Memphis in 2000. My wife, Lana, and I opened Kooky Canuck in downtown Memphis in 2005. Kooky has been featured on the Irish Travel Channel, Trailer Park Boys, Gas Monkey Garage, You Gotta Eat Here on Food Network Canada, World Food Championships, Black Ink Crew; New York and was the first restaurant filmed for Man v Food in 2008. In 2014 we opened our second location in Cordova. I have served on the board of directors for Memphis Tourism, Memphis Restaurant Association, Metro Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association, and Hospitality Tennessee. I’m very active lobbying for the hospitality industry at the local, state, and federal levels and am the Chair of the Memphis Restaurant Association PAC.

Lynde Sumrall-Tackett, Half Shell

For as long as I can remember I have been involved in the restaurant industry. My father and late mother have been successful restauranteurs in the Memphis for the past 40 plus years. I have always had a passion to work in the service industry. I spent a good portion of my youth working in many different roles within the restaurant industry. My father instilled the drive to learn the business from every angle. I have navigated positions from a hostess all through Management. This has given me a broad experience of all the expectations required to be successful in the industry. If I am elected to the board I would like to implement the following ideas.
  1. Improve communications with health Dept and other local governing bodies.
  2. Work with the health department to safely move past current and future pandemics and stop the bleeding in the industry.
  3. To help ensure that our industry is at the table and not on the table.
Thank you for your consideration for this position.

Eric Vernon, Bar-B-Q Shop

I am the Manager/Owner of The Bar-B-Q Shop, voted #1 ribs in America by the Food Network’s “Top Five Restaurants.” Our family-owned restaurant has been featured on one of Bobby Flay’s shows and written about in Southern Living. I graduated from the University of Memphis and hold an MBA from there, as well. I currently serve on the Board of both Welcome to Memphis and Memphis Restaurant Association.
Steve Voss, Huey's

Steve Voss, Huey’s

I am Steve Voss with Huey’s Restaurants. I have been Huey’s for 21 years and now hold the position of V.P. of Operations. My experience in the industry also includes working as Food Broker for Delta Foodservice, General Manager for the Cooker Bar and Grille, and bartending/serving at a few restaurants such as Houston’s, Mortimer’s, and Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant while attending the University of Memphis way back in the day. The Restaurant business has been in my veins my whole life. I believe I inherited this passion from my grandmother Ola Voss, who was the General Manager of the Old Knickerbocker and Patterson’s Restaurant back in the ’70s. I served on the MRA Board back in 2006 as Sergeant at Arms. My goal is to get back involved with the MRA, continue the tradition, and help share ideas, communicate, listen, and respond to all members. I am willing to serve and actively contribute to the best of my ability.

Terry Trim, Tops

As the recently appointed president of Tops Bar-B-Q, the iconic 67-year-old Memphis franchise, I bring more than 30 years of industry experience and a fresh perspective to my role. With an extensive background in restaurant and management experience, a successful track record in building growth and expansion, employee development, and strategic planning, I am well-prepared to serve the MRA in a new era and have exciting plans for growth. I am a Shelby County native and alumni of the University of Memphis. I have worked with national brands including Macaroni Grill, TGI Friday’s, Bennigan’s, and Caesars Entertainment, as well as local Memphis favorites The North End and Kooky Canuck. A firm believer in giving back to his community, I have also been active with such organizations like Memphis Downtown Association, and local charities such as St. Jude, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Madonna Learning Center.
Jeff Zepatos, Arcade

Jeff Zepatos, Arcade

My family owns The Arcade in Downtown Memphis. The Arcade has the honor of being Memphis’ oldest restaurant. Speros Zepatos founded the diner in 1919 after immigrating from Cephalonia, Greece. I graduated from Ole Miss and am the Treasurer of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. I have served on the Memphis Restaurant Association Board for 2 years.

Thomas Boggs

Thomas Boggs

Thomas Boggs
Thomas Boggs

Thomas Boggs: A Tribute

Read more about Thomas Boggs here (Memphis Flyer article) and here (Wiki) and here (obit) and here (Memphis Daily News tribute).

Thomas Boggs, CEO of Huey’s, a partner in the Half Shell, Tsunami, and Folk’s Folly and tireless community activist, died in May 2008. He was 63.

He was a past president of the Memphis Restaurant Association and was awarded the association’s highest honor, the Newt Hardin Award for outstanding service.

Boggs was known for his civic contributions: board member and former president of the Memphis Zoological Society; advisory board member of the Memphis Food Bank; Chairman and board member of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau; and chairman and board member of Memphis In May.

We honor him annually by remembering his legacy at our golf tournament. You can sign up for the 2020 golf tournament here.

2021-22 Board Nominations Are Now Open

MRA Nominations Image

Nominations are open until September 30, 2020.

The ballot is live for two weeks at the beginning of October.

The by-laws read:

The Nominating Committee shall consist of four members. The past President as chair and the three appointed regular members of the Executive Board. Associate members may not serve on the Nominating Committee. The nominating committee will convene each year on or before September 1st in order to submit nominations to the Executive Board by October 1st to be placed in ballot form along with any other nominations by the general membership.

The Nominating Committee consists of:

  • Anthony House, Chick-Fil-A
  • Terry Trim, Tops BBQ
  • Michelle Tavares, Peabody
  • Schuyler O’Brian, Hog Wild
  • Eric Vernon, The Bar-B-Q Shop

All nominees must be current, paid members, as does the person who nominates them.

BOARD

MRA-Statement and Stance on Racism

MRA-Statement and Stance on Racism

The Memphis Restaurant Association (MRA) stands against racism of any kind, especially in our restaurants. Racism has no place in our restaurants nor in our Association.

We acknowledge that this is a unique moment in history, where our country and our city are grappling not only with a pandemic but also with a painful legacy of institutional racism against Black Americans and Black Memphians specifically.

The MRA expects our member restaurants to treat their employees and guests with dignity, equality, and respect, and to build a welcoming and inclusive environment for all Memphians.

The MRA also proudly stands behind and supports all of our amazing Black-owned and Minority-owned restaurants. We acknowledge that our city’s culinary success is due in large part to the Black culinary heritage and talent of Memphis. From soul food to barbeque, we recognize this legacy of great food and great tastes has benefited us all, restaurateurs and our guests alike. We encourage Memphians to join us in supporting minority-owned restaurants.

During tough times, it’s often food that brings us together. Memphis has an incredible, diverse community of restaurants that open their doors every day to bring Memphians together around the shared table. We encourage you to broaden your minds, your hearts, and your palettes and help us build a brighter future for the city of Memphis.

Please consider supporting these
Black-Owned Businesses
(thanks to Downtown Memphis Commission.)