Angus Barn's Van Eure, left, receives the Industry Legends Award as Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney looks on.

The National Restaurant Association honored industry legend Van Eure at this year’s IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards gala in Chicago.

Eure, owner-operator of Angus Barn in Raleigh, N.C., and an Association board member, received the third annual Industry Legends Award for her lifetime of achievement.

Dawn Sweeney, the Association’s president and CEO, presented the award to Eure at the May 18 gala. The restaurateur is highly regarded for her commitment to excellence, charitable work and involvement in advocacy efforts to help the restaurant industry.

“Purely and simply, Van epitomizes everything good about our industry: warmth, gracious hospitality, commitment to teamwork, and the acknowledgment that we are all here only because we stand on that shoulders of others," Sweeney said. "Van is all that, and above everything, she is about service.”

The daughter of industry pioneers Thad and Alice Eure, she took over leadership of the restaurant following the death of her father in 1988. Her mother died in 1997.

Since assuming Angus Barn’s leadership, Eure has turned the already successful restaurant into a dining destination renowned for excellence. From the restaurant's founding in 1960, her parents insisted every customer be treated as though he or she were the most important person in the world. That tradition continues today.

Ted Balestreri, former Association chair, owner of the Sardine Factory restaurant in Monterey, Calif., and inaugural winner of the Legends Award in 2017, acknowledged Eure’s passion for the industry and for excellence.

“Angus Barn is one of the great steakhouses in the world,” he said. “I’ve known Van most of her life, and her family has been kind of a legend in this industry. I can tell you that if you don’t love what you’re doing, you can’t be a legend in this industry. She loves what she does. She personifies it.”

Eure also received recognition for her charitable work, including fundraising for the Foundation of Hope, which funds scientific grants in mental health research, and her leadership of the Cheyenne Foundation, which seeks to rescue and rehome animals.

“Whether it’s helping the mentally ill, or our community wherever or whenever it’s in need, Van is a unique and passionate leader,” said Steven Thanhauser, her husband of 22 years. “She honestly gives because she desires to make other people feel good. She’s also a lot of fun, and never gets discouraged by anything.”

Former Association chair Regynald Washington, second from left, accepts the 2019 IFMA Gold Plate Award on May 19.

The Gold & Silver Plate Awards, presented by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, are the “Academy Awards of the foodservice industry.” They honor the contributions and innovations of leading operators and the work they do to advance the business. Van Eure won the Gold Plate in 2004.

This year’s Silver Plate winners included several Association board members and former officers:

  • Sam Facchini, whose Metro Pizza took independent Restaurants/Multi-Concept honors
  • Sodexo’s Lorna Donatone, for Business & Industry/Foodservice Management; and
  • Regynald G. Washington, for Paradies Lagardere in the Retail & Specialty category

Read the full list of 2019 Silver Plate winners

At the end of the gala, Washington, a former Association chair, received this year’s Gold Plate Award for his work with Paradies Lagardere.