In 1916, three visionary restaurateurs, Myron Green, George Fowler and Guy Taylor, met to discuss the sudden spike in the price of eggs to 65 cents per dozen. The three men helped organize a city-wide egg boycott, sending prices back to a reasonable 32 cents per dozen. Over time, the gathering of three grew to add more restaurateurs, forming the Kansas City Business Men’s Association, the forerunner to the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association. By 1919, the idea had caught on nationwide and the National Restaurant Association was born in Kansas City.
Although the National Restaurant Association moved its headquarters to Chicago in 1926, and again to Washington, D.C. in the 1970s, the GKCRA remains one of the NRA’s most active local chapters. Over the years, the GKCRA has been a powerful voice in Kansas City-area government, philanthropy and culinary education:
1974: the GKCRA joins the city’s efforts to initiate tourism funding in the area as one of the original supporters and funders of Bartle Hall, the area’s largest convention center. Area restaurants continue to contribute to the facility’s maintenance through Kansas City convention and tourism taxes.
1970s: the GKCRA, along with leadership in the Missouri Restaurant Association, is successful in lobbying the University of Missouri for the establishment of a four-year hospitality management program in Columbia. The program nearly closes in the 1980s but was saved by the MRA through financial support. The program is a leader in the region today, representing the largest single program in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
2009: the GKCRA, in partnership with Visit KC, kicks off the first Kansas City Restaurant Week. In its first six years, the 10-day, citywide culinary event raised nearly 1 million dollars for local foundations and charities.
2012: showing its commitment to fostering the next generation of culinary leaders, the GKCRA Educational Foundation donates $40,000 to the construction of the state-of-the-art Hospitality and Culinary Academy at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The donation represents one of the largest corporate donations to the academy’s construction.
2014: the Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City dedicates a historical marker in the GKCRA’s honor in downtown Kansas City’s Oppenstein Park. The park is the former site of Myron Green Cafeteria, the site of the first meeting of what would become the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association.
2016: restaurant trade associations celebrate 100 years of working for the hospitality industry with the GKCRA’s centennial year.