Toledoan chairs Ohio Restaurant AssociationWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
On June 9, Roger Parker, the operating partner of Toledo’s Mancy Brothers’ Catering was inducted as chairman of the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA), a trade association of 2,400 members.
“In itself, [the appointment] brings more attention to the community,” Parker said. “I can facilitate conversations and by doing that, certainly there are issues and concerns local restaurants have and I can certainly put it on the agenda.”
Parker was honored at the Toledo Museum of Art on June 9 at a celebration attended by Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Parker joined the ORA board of directors in 2006 and became a member of its executive committee in 2007. He was also president of the Northwest Ohio Restaurant Association from 2006-08.
The ORA board has sought to promote membership benefits in recent years. The ORA offers legislative advocacy for the industry, an education fund for those in culinary career paths, attorney services, social networking, cost-reducing energy programs and marketing materials to its members.
Parker, a Florence, Kan., native, worked at restaurants and hotels as a youth, but majored in finance at Farleigh Dickinson University. To make money in college, he continued working at eateries.
“The next thing you know, I’m coming out with a degree. I walked into a bank and said, ‘How much can I get paid?’ And I looked at what I was making as a bartender and thought, ‘Wow, wait a minute, this doesn’t make sense.’ And I just stuck with [bartending],” he said.
Parker eventually became assistant beverage manager at le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City. Over the course of his career, he has worked at the New York Helmsley Hotel, Vista International Hotel and the Grand Hyatt New York.
In 1989, Parker left the Big Apple to manage the largest catering association in Maryland. In 1993, he joined V/Gladieux Enterprises, Inc., which brought him to Toledo. After 17 years with the company, he came on with Mancy’s in 2010 to run the catering division of the company.
Mancy’s Restaurant Group, a Toledo staple since 1921, operates Mancy’s Italian Grill, Mancy’s Steakhouse, Shorty’s and Bluewater Grille. Although Shorty’s already offered catering, Parker worked to expand the catering services of the other three restaurants.