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Membership is the Foundation of Everything We Do
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Membership is the Foundation of Everything We Do

Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. We provide restaurant operators and suppliers in Illinois with valuable business services, networking opportunities, cost savings programs and advocacy. 

Now it’s your turn to join the thousands of other operators, suppliers, and hospitality leaders by becoming a member of the IRA!

Meet our Chair:  Kevin Vaughan


 Kevin Vaughan, Vaughan Hospitality Group

Kevin is the owner of six Irish-themed bar restaurants in Chicagoland, a member of the IRA Board of Directors, Finance Committee and currently our Corporate Secretary. Kevin was born in Ireland and moved to Chicago when he was 15.  My first restaurant job was as a dishwasher. Working as a busboy and bartender paid for a big chunk of my college tuition. After college, he went to work with Arthur Andersen as a CPA for 13 years and when the firm collapsed due to the Enron debacle in 2002, my “lifeboat” was to work full time with Vaughan Hospitality Group (together with brother Eamonn and wife Kristan). Today, they operate six Irish-American themed locations: two Vaughan’s Pubs in Lakeview and on the Northwest side, Corcoran’s Grill & Pub in Old Town, Emerald Loop Bar & Grill in downtown Chicago, Monty Gaels Tavern & Grill in the North Center neighborhood and Square Celt Alehouse & Grill in Orland Park.

For more information about Vaughan Hospitality Group, visit


Meet the Membership Team: 

 Eric Fine  Christine DeSousa
  Director of Sales and Marketing   Senior Member & Corporate Relations Manager
O: 3123804115 O: 3123804146

Eric has been with the IRA for 3 years and has big plans for the department!

He brings years of restaurant, marketing, manufacturing and distribution experience to the IRA. Eric lives in Roscoe Village with his wife, 3 kids, and his Bernese Mountain Dog, Rocky.

Christine has been with the IRA for 6 years now and has no plans of slowing down. She brings many years of relationship building as well as sales and industry experience to the department. Christine loves all things vegetarian, checking out new restaurants, and travelling the world.    
 David Cohen  
 Member Relations Manager  
 O: 3123804138  




Membership in the Illinois Restaurant Association includes our weekly President’s Report which provides breaking news and updates on all restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry matters at the national, state, county and city levels.  Keep in touch with pending and new legislation, while staying abreast on new business opportunities throughout Illinois.

Membership provides discounts on health and business insurance, energy management, POS needs, music licensing and other programs to help you save on operating costs.  In addition, we provide discounted ServSafe® Sanitation Manager, Food Handler, Alcohol/BASSET and other training programs for your entire workforce.   

Our membership team facilitates our annual Meet the Experts™ speed coaching event, networking events, as well professional development seminars for owner/operators, managers and other team leaders.  

The Illinois Restaurant Association owns and operates Chicago Gourmet™ and is proud to have celebrated its 8th and most successful year!  Drawing over 13,000 people, Chicago Gourmet is quickly becoming one of the most recognized food, wine, and spirit festivals in the United States.

We are proud to have played an instrumental role in bringing the James Beard Awards to Chicago this past May.  Previously held in New York City, we have secured these prestigious awards here in Chicago through 2017 making us the culinary capital of the United States!


For more information on the Illinois Restaurant Association or becoming a member, please visit or call 312.787.4000


Join the IRA and enjoy the benefits of membership. The four member types are:

  • Operator Member (Restaurant/Foodservice) - Restaurant members represent tableservice, quickservice, on-site foodservice, cafeterias, and more. Restaurant Operator Dues Info
  • Associate Member (Product/Service Supplier) - For any company, including industry suppliers, distributors, and consultants, that supplies goods and services to the industry. Associate Dues Info
  • Student Member - Full-time students in a 2 or 4 year restaurant/hospitality program who are 18 years or older. Student Dues Info
  • Faculty Member - For full-time educators in an accredited program in the restaurant/hospitality field. Faculty Dues Info

To register on the IRA website as a Nonmember:

  • Nonmember - To register with the IRA as a Nonmember, select this type. There is no cost to create a website registration however no benefits of membership (including class discounts) will be available. PLEASE NOTE: Those seeking to attend an IRA Sanitation Class, but are not a current IRA Member, must have or create a Nonmember website registration to sign up for the Class.

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33 W. Monroe, Ste 250
Chicago, IL 60603
Toll Free: 800-572-1086
Ph: 312-787-4000
Fax: 312-787-4792


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