Charleston Restaurant Association Elects New President

Charleston Restaurant Association Elects New President

The Charleston Restaurant Association (CRA) is pleased to announce the election of the new president of the CRA Board of Directors. As of February 8, 2012, Steve Carroll, operator of the two Red’s Ice House locations in the Charleston area and owner of Carroll Consulting, will take over as president. Carroll will succeed Dean Michael Saboe of the Culinary Institute of Charleston, who has presided over the CRA since January, 2010. A member of the CRA’s board since 2008, Carroll has served as vice president since 2010 and as event chairman on several of the organization’s large events including the Southern Living Taste of Charleston.

When asked why he chose to be so involved in the volunteer organization, Carroll said, “I love what I do and I like to put good people together. The culinary professionals in this town are as good as it gets. With Charleston having become one of the hottest culinary destination in the country, the CRA along, with the help of the CVB, will make sure we stay on top for a long time.” Executive Director, Kathy Britzius, comments, “I can say unequivocally that Steve has proven to be one of the most hard-working, active and productive board members I have had the pleasure to work with. He has been a driving factor in the dramatic growth of the CRA over the past few years.” The non-profit CRA reports that it is at the highest level in their thirty year history in terms of both membership and ability to donate to local charities.

A Charleston native, Carroll has been an entrepreneur in the food and beverage industry and the concert promotion industry in the area for the last 25 years. He currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism at the College of Charleston. Carroll is also a strong supporter of many local charities including Hospitality Heroes, a charity he founded to assist people in the hospitality industry that need financial assistance due to medical hardship. He was also a catalyst in the recent sale of the Wild Wing Café Franchise by introducing the Wild Wing concept to investment group, Axum Partners.

The 2012 CRA Board of Directors will also include David Hayes of LongHorn Steakhouse as vice president and Mike Johnson of Lee Distributors as treasurer. Hayes is Director of Operations for LongHorn Steakhouse, a Division of Darden Restaurants.  He has been a part of the CRA for more than 20 years, holding the positions of Board member, Secretary and Treasurer.  David has lived in Charleston area for 30 years.  He is married and has 2 children. Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Lee Distributors, has been in the beer distribution industry for 36 years and with Lee Distributors for eight years. He has served on the board of the CRA for the past two years and sat on the Taste of Charleston committee for three years. He also serves on the South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association Board of Directors.

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