Skip to main content

Louisiana Restaurant Association Honors Ballard Brothers as 2017 Associate Members of the Year

Sep 25th, 2017

Ballard Brands

The Louisiana Restaurant Association's 2017 Restaurateur of the Year is Tommy Cvitanovich, of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant.  

The award was among several handed out Sept. 7 at the LRA Awards Reception at Arnaud’s Restaurant in New Orleans.

Cvitanovich co-owns and operates three Drago’s restaurants in Metairie, New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi, with a new location in Lafayette currently under renovation.

This year's Hall of Fame inductees are Leah Chase, of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans; Warren Leruth, of LeRuth’s; and Don Weems, of Waterfront Grill. Leruth and Weems were honored posthumously. 

Chase, known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, has run the famous Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans since the 1950s. 

Leruth, chef, restaurateur and noted food scientist, opened LeRuth’s in Gretna in 1966. 
Weems was co-owner of WaterFront Grill in Monroe and was very active in the LRA.

The 2017 Associate Members of the Year are Paul, Scott and Steve Ballard, of Ballard Brands. The company includes five restaurant brands that collectively total nearly 150 locations and are growing. 

The 2017 Advocate of the Year is State Sen. Conrad Appel, who represents District 9 based in Jefferson Parish, serving on the Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs; Education; Environmental Quality and Finance committees. 

The 2017 Chair’s Leadership Award recipient is Greg Hamer of B&G Foods. Through his company, Hamer owns 106 Taco Bell restaurants in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and employs more than 2,500 people.