Rick Malir, founder of fast-casual barbeque concept City Barbeque, was inducted into the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) Hall of Fame as a restaurant industry leader. Malir joins previous inductees and restaurant founders Billy Ingram of White Castle, Dave Thomas of Wendy’s, and Jim Grote of Donatos, as well as restauranteurs Cameron Mitchell and Jeff Ruby. Induction into the ORA Hall of Fame serves as recognition for those championing the association’s core values, as well as serving as an inspiration for the next generation of hospitality professionals. In introducing Malir at the December 4 ceremony, the ORA’s Chad Bjornson referenced Malir’s outsized impact on the foodservice industry, referring to the City Barbeque founder as “a scion of the Ohio restaurant industry … a pillar of Central Ohio.”
Rick and Bonnie Malir founded City Barbeque in 1999 in partnership with restaurant professional Frank Pizzo and a competition barbeque team made up of Jim Budros, Mike Taylor, and John Kean. Malir served as CEO for City Barbeque until 2021, leading it from one location in Central Ohio to more than 60 locations across eight states. Today, City Barbeque operates 68 locations and Malir is in place as Executive Chairman of the Board.
“Rick is truly the heart of City Barbeque—not only did he found the restaurant, but he laid the foundation for the culture we’re known for today,” says Mike Muldoon, CEO of City Barbeque. “Folks know City Barbeque for our incredible food, but we’re recognized just as much, if not more, for how we treat our teammates and how we take care of our guests. We have more than 2,700 City Barbeque teammates serving and creating happiness in their communities today, and it all started almost 25 years ago thanks to his vision, his leadership, and his commitment to others.”