In honor of the late Dick Ayers, the Richard P. Ayers Award for Distinguished Service is the Colorado Restaurant Association’s highest achievement award. After a long career in foodservice, Dick decided to specialize in restaurant real-estate, and he became a legend for his ability to determine an appropriate sales price for restaurants. In 2007, Dick passed away, but this award is part of his legacy of service to the Colorado Restaurant Association. The Richard P. Ayers Award for Distinguished Service is given to those individuals who have contributed and served the Colorado Restaurant Association and our industry far above and beyond the call of duty.
Steve Kanatzar has been a longtime supporter of the hospitality industry and has been involved with the CRA for many years. He served as CRA 2016-17 Chairman of the Board and has served on the Pikes Peak Chapter Board since 2005 and the Executive Committee since 2011. He has worked diligently to help the CRA and hospitality industry battle through some tough economic and political times. He is passionate about ProStart and is always amazed with ProStart’s positive impact on students.
As stated by Paul Aylmer, the 2017 DSA recipient:
Steve is the epitome of hard work and dedication. Beside starting the Airplane Restaurant in 2001, Steve served for years on the CO Springs Chapter Board and the CRA Board before becoming a member the CRA Executive Committee and eventually its Chairman. The Executive Committee meets once a month in Denver and Steve, to the best of my recollection, never missed a meeting, despite the sometimes brutal commute.
Steve has an undying passion for this industry and a goal to assure that the policies our lawmakers create for our state will keep our industry competitive and thriving. He is determined to make our industry a good place to work in.
But most importantly and above all else, Steve is a kind man, an honest man, a man of high morals and integrity, a selfless man who doesn’t hesitate to give back to his community, a loyal friend, husband and father and a man we all respect tremendously. I call him the voice of reason.
Congratulations Steve and thank you for your endless commitment and dedication to the CRA. Indeed, you are well deserving of this award.
Steve worked for Specialty Restaurants, Sea Galley, and Red Robin before branching out into owning his own restaurant. He was able to establish a series of successful restaurants over the course of 35 years. Steve’s current concept, The Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs, has been an icon in El Paso County since 2002. That is when he was able to combine his experience of running restaurants with his love of aviation. His interest in cooking began while earning his degree in Chemistry at CSU. “My two housemates were food chemists so we were always experimenting with food and drink. Flying planes runs in my family so an aviation themed restaurant was a perfect fit.” Steve currently serves on the Boards of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and the El Paso County Health Department, Food Safety Advisory Committee.