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March 15, 2013

Steve Schilling of ZaZING! Named 2013 Restaurateur of the Year

Steve Schilling photoMADISON, WI – March 12, 2013- Steve Schilling, owner of ZaZING! in North Prairie, has been named Restaurateur of the Year by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. The Restaurateur of the Year is the industry’s top honor and is given to only one restaurant operator each year. Steve Schilling was announced as the winner at the Association’s annual Awards Dinner, held at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee on March 12th in conjunction with the Wisconsin Restaurant Expo.

The Restaurateur of the Year award is given to an operator who demonstrates participation and service to the restaurant association, success within their own restaurant and participation in community activities. The winner is selected at a private meeting of past Restaurateur of the Year recipients and kept a secret until the official announcement at the Awards Dinner.

Schilling owns and operates ZaZING!, a cozy little restaurant with an emphasis on quality and freshness that does a booming takeout business. Customers rave about his “primo pizza and chicken,” gyros, wings and ice cream, all served by well-trained and friendly staff.

Like many in the business, Schilling began working in the industry as a dishwasher when he was a teenager. He worked his way up through the ranks of the Marcus Corporation over 35 years - from dishwasher to General Manager and Vice President of the company’s Marc’s Big Boy Family Restaurant Division. After his career with Marcus, he helped found the chain of Annie’s American Cafes and then transitioned to ZaZING!

He has shown dedication to the restaurant industry and an inspiring work ethic. Schilling has been active at the WRA chapter level, serving as Vice President and President of the Milwaukee Chapter Board. In 1999, he was named the Milwaukee Chapter’s Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year.

He currently serves on the WRA state board of director’s executive committee and has chaired numerous committees. Schilling has traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of the Wisconsin delegation for the National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Conference and has been an active advocate for the restaurant industry. He has been instrumental in the success of the WRA annual Southern Shootout – a sporting clays fundraiser for the Association’s Restaurant Advocacy Fund.

Recognizing how important it is to shape the future leaders of our industry, he has shown his commitment to education through his work with the WRA Education Foundation, serving a term as Board Chairman and serving on the scholarship and ProStart high school program advisory committees. In 2009, he was honored by the WRA Education Foundation as their Salute to Excellence Restaurateur.

Known as a consensus builder who has shown his willingness to put in the work necessary to get results, Schilling has always had a can-do attitude.

Despite a busy schedule, Schilling has made time to support many programs in his community, and spend quality time with his wife Mary, their four grown children and grandchildren.

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Since 1933, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association has been dedicated to the promotion, protection and improvement of the foodservice industry.

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Wisconsin Restaurant Association • 2801 Fish Hatchery Rd. • Madison, WI 53713 • Tel: 608.270.9950 • Toll Free: 800.589.3211 • FAX: 608.270.9960