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The Official Publication of the Illinois Restaurant Association
February 2015

New IRA Chairman Patrick Donelly addresses over 250 IRA members, elected officials, and special guests at the IRA's Annual Meeting.

Meet the New Chairman of the Board: Patrick Donelly


As the Illinois Restaurant Association kicked off 2015 at our Annual Meeting on February 3, we were thrilled to appoint Patrick Donelly as the new Chairman of the Board. With a career that spans more than 40 years in the hospitality industry, Patrick will bring a new vision and an abundance of expertise as the IRA moves into the exciting year ahead.

Patrick is currently the General Manager of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the city’s largest hotel and the largest Hyatt in the world. He oversees all operations and is responsible for the vision and the future direction of the property. Patrick began his career with Hyatt in 1986 and has served in multiple positions and in many properties throughout his tenure. His new position with the Illinois Restaurant Association is a perfect role for him, as he is passionate about the hospitality community here in Illinois and is a supporter of several charitable organizations. In addition to his role with the Illinois Restaurant Association, Patrick was the Chairman of the Board of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association last year, and has been involved with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, The Magnificent Mile Association, and has sat on the Executive Board for Choose Chicago.

We were excited to sit down and talk to Patrick this month to hear what he had to say about 2015, his priorities for the Illinois Restaurant Association this year, and which sports team he values above all others!

  • What are you most looking forward to as Chairman in 2015?
    • I’m looking forward to having a clear set of goals in which to help the restaurant association such as “happy hours”, increasing PAC funding for a larger impact in the city, and continuing to forge our relationships with fellow associations.
  • What goals and priorities would you most like to focus on in 2015?
    • We need to increase the number of members we have. We need to do this by showing and giving them value for what the Association is and means to them.
  • What do you enjoy most about your involvement with the IRA?
    • Networking and meeting new people. I also enjoy helping young people with their careers and teaching them to be part of the solution.
  • What do you enjoy most about your position in the hospitality industry?
    • No day is ever the same.
  • What are your hobbies/interests that you’d like our membership to know about?
    • I am an avid Manchester United fan. They come before all other teams!
Flavor Profile

Q&A with Jimmy Bannos Jr., Chef/Owner of The Purple Pig

  • Tell us a little about your history. How did you get where you are today?
    • I grew up in restaurants – at my Dad's Heaven on Seven restaurant – and have always known that I wanted to be a chef. I went to Johnson & Wales in Providence and then worked for Mario Batali at several of his restaurants in New York. I learned so much from Mario, and especially how important the attention to detail and the best ingredients are to a dish's end result.
  • To what do you attribute your success? Do you have any advice for aspiring restaurateurs?
    • Hard work – a strong, extreme desire to do whatever it takes to be successful. This is an extremely difficult career path – you have to really be dedicated, and my advice to aspiring restaurateurs is to renew that dedication every day and never lose sight of it.
  • What is your biggest challenge? What is your biggest reward in working in the industry?
    • Time management is my biggest challenge – sometimes it just seems like there's not enough time in the day. My biggest reward is all the satisfied guests I get to see in my restaurant every day, enjoying the food I make.
  • What are you excited for this year? Any big events or opportunities for growth?
    • This year I'm excited for the continual process of getting better and learning more techniques that I can bring to the table at The Purple Pig.
  • What is your favorite menu item and/or what would your last meal be?
    • At The Purple Pig, my favorite dish right now is the house made morcilla sausage with poached lobster and pickled date sauce. For my last meal, I’d have a big, giant bowl of spaghetti with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up the sauce.
  • How are you involved with the IRA? What do you see as being the most valuable resources/service that the IRA provides you?
    • The Purple Pig is a Restaurant Operator member of the IRA – I personally really appreciate the community and network-building opportunities the IRA creates among members of the industry, as well as knowing that they represent our best interests at a national advocacy level.



Springfield Lobby Day - March 11, 2015


The Illinois Restaurant Association is advocating for its members and educating elected officials on a daily basis. Register today for our Springfield Lobby Day. Lobby Day is an opportunity for you to join a coalition of IRA members and get quality face time with the policymakers who are voting on legislation that will have a significant impact on your business’ bottom line.

Springfield Lobby Day puts the issues we care about center stage with members of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office. It is the perfect chance to sit down and have honest, meaningful conversations with elected officials about how important issues like a uniform minimum wage, tip credit, happy hour, tourism funding, and taxes are to your business and restaurateurs throughout Illinois. Consider it a 1-day investment in your business and the future of our industry.

Click here to register for the event.

Click here to read more about the Springfield Lobby Day Agenda and FAQs. For more information, contact Matt Quinn at 312-380-4122 or


A La Carte

Coca-Cola Celebrating 100th Anniversary of that Special Contour Bottle


In November 2015, Coca-Cola will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the contour bottle. The bottle was created so it would have unmistakable curves and a distinctive contour. This was the result of a design brief that called for the package to be “so distinctive that it could be recognized by touch alone and so unique it could be identified when shattered on the ground.” The visual identity system for the Coke bottle is rooted in the company’s rich story of innovation and creativity.

Throughout the year in cities and countries across the globe, Coca-Cola will be celebrating this important milestone by showcasing the fact that every Coke bottle has a story. From the one picked to be kissed by Marilyn Monroe, to the Coke bottles that became symbols of peace and unity on a mountain top for “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing," to the Coke bottle featured in Andy Warhol’s masterpieces - they all share a story.

In Chicago, we will be extending that celebration through special events, customized bottles, and retails offers. We are encouraging all of our restaurant customers to get involved with the celebration by offering our aluminum or glass bottles as part of their beverage service.

Feel free to email Danny O’Shea, Director of Market Unit Sales for Food Service and On-Premise for Coca-Cola Chicago, at for more information about your current Coca-Cola Foodservice Account or to set up new service.



Eli's Cheesecake Marks St. Patrick's Day with Irish Mint Cheesecake and a "Cheesecake with an Irish Twist" Contest


Eli’s Cheesecake and O’Briens invite bakers to enter the “Cheesecake with an Irish Twist” Bake-Off on Sunday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. at O’Briens Restaurant, located at 1528 N. Wells St. in Chicago

Create your own unique cheesecake with an Irish twist and you could win a year’s supply of Eli’s! Your creation will also be sold at Eli’s Cafe and at O’Briens to benefit Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen and her court are also participating in the contest. Plus, enjoy a live performance by the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band. To register, or for more information, visit or call 773-308-7019.

Special St. Paddy’s Day desserts include Irish Mint Cheesecake and Irish Cream Cheesecake. Place your order at or by calling 800-ELI-CAKE.


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