Published on May 17th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Charleston Restaurant Industry Forges Historic Partnership

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – Leaders of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, Inc. (GCRA) and the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (SCRLA) have announced a groundbreaking partnership. The two groups have been working since January to craft a relationship model that will be beneficial to both organizations well into the future. A working alliance between state and local hospitality associations is important for overall industry advancement.

“The Charleston area is enjoying unprecedented restaurant growth and acclaim,” stated Anthony DiBernardo, President of GCRA, Inc. and co-owner of Swig & Swine BBQ. “Partnering with the state association fosters a healthy business environment, expanded educational opportunities and industry advocacy.”

DiBernardo, originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, has a robust background in the Lowcountry’s culinary scene. His leadership in the local association and understanding of the restaurant industry’s needs was instrumental in spearheading the local effort. “This milestone could not have happened without the vision of Anthony DiBernardo, the direction of Bill Hall, and the leadership of David McMillan of Drunken Jack’s in Murrells Inlet on our behalf,” stated John Durst, President and CEO of SCRLA. Hall, of Hall’s Chop House, already serves on both the local and state boards.

In addition to expanded benefits including membership in the National Restaurant Association, the local association will immediately hold four new positions on the state association’s board. In addition to DiBernardo, the state board will include GCRA board members Athan Fokas, owner of Old Towne Grill and Seafood; John Keener, owner of Charleston Crab House; and Eric Young, with Pepsi Bottling Group.

The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, Inc. is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit trade organization serving the Charleston area restaurant industry. GCRA serves as the voice of its members on government and public relations issues. It also provides programs that offer operational benefits and create opportunities for members. GCRA represents the largest private sector employer in the tri-county area and its members are the cornerstone of the Charleston area community and economy.

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