Two area names on ’40 Women to Watch’ Iowa Hospitality list

The Iowa Restaurant Association recently released its fifth class of 40 “Women to Watch” in Iowa’s Hospitality Industry, and two Decorah area women made the list: Carina Cavagnaro, La Rana Bistro; and  Shana Meyer, Toppling Goliath Brewing Company.

The 2023 honorees exemplify both the diversity of workforce and breadth and depth of career opportunities available to women in hospitality. More than 100 nominations were submitted from across the state. This year’s winners range from kitchen and general managers, to entrepreneurs and purveyors. All were nominated by a member of the industry or the public and were selected by the Iowa Restaurant Association. Each of the 40 have demonstrated a passion for their customers, teams and businesses. The 40 will be recognized as part of the Iowa Restaurant Association’s Annual Celebrating Excellence Awards Ceremony November 13th. The awards are held in conjunction with the Iowa Hospitality Showcase.

“There are more than 70,000 Iowa women working in the food, beverage, hospitality, and leisure industries every day,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “What is exciting about this year’s list is that it includes the expected and unexpected. There are female restaurant owners, but there are also women doing everything from school nutrition and specialized cleaning, to home-based baking and wine sales. All 40 represent hospitality in a unique way and each woman has found a meaningful career in their special food and beverage niche.”

The complete 2023 List includes:

·      Alison Meyer, The Palms Theatres & IMAX, Waukee

·      Allie Andrews, Johnson Brothers Wirtz, Johnston

·      Alysia Bowers, Foodie Garage Eatery, Dubuque

·      Amanda Miller, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines

·      Amber Broeker, Ambro’s Roadhouse, DeSoto

·      Amber Gable, Back Country Winery, Stratford

·      Amelia Nickle, Hotel Grinnell/Highlander, Grinnell/Iowa City

·      Angela Lochmann-Guzman, Sugarfire Smoke House, Cedar Rapids

·      Angela Davila Ramos, Hot Tamale Catering, Des Moines

·      Anjuleah Knutson, KaffeGeita, Story City

·      Anna Suttie, Maxie’s Supper Club, West Des Moines

·      Ashley Bowers, Iowa Distilling Company, Cumming

·      Brenda Windmuller, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines

·      Carina Cavagnaro, La Rana Bistro, Decorah

·      Carrie Stier, Riverboat Twilight, LeClaire

·      Clair Williams-Vavra, Green Mason, Des Moines

·      Courtney Yeazel, The Royal Mile/Full Court Press, Des Moines

·      Dorian Larson, La Petit Patisserie, Cedar Falls

·      Ellie Rastetter, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, Sac City

·      Emily Salmonson The Green House, Iowa City

·      Fran Maus, Me & Billy, Davenport

·      Haley Scarpino, Valentine Kitchen, Des Moines

·      Hope Hancox, Tangleberries Café and Suites, Centerville

·      Jessica Robertson, Oak Park Restaurant, Des Moines

·      Kasey Sheldahl, Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits, Des Moines

·      Katie Farao, Urban Grill, Urbandale

·      Kimberly Dunn, Domestic Bones, Des Moines

·      Kimberly Hartkemeyer, The Fun Station, Cedar Rapids

·      Leah Jensen, Maxwell’s Beach Café, Arnold’s Park

·      Lorena Maria Alvarado, Maria’s Commercial Cleaning, Inc., Des Moines

·      Mary Lewellin, Red Dragon Herbs & Tea, Polk City

·      May Thompson, Parinda Cupcakes, Des Moines

·      Paula Feltner, Bricktown Bakery, Nevada

·      Megan Whyte, Caesars Entertainment/Isle of Capri, Bettendorf

·      Michelle Hansen, Johnson Brothers Liquor Company, Johnston

·      Shana Meyer, Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, Decorah

·      Sofia Hernandez, Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio, West Des Moines

·      Temeshia Bomato, Pots and Shots, West Des Moines

·      Teresa Lancaster, Timbukbru, Clarion/Iowa Falls

·      Trisha Goode, Early Bird Brunch, Waukee/Ankeny

For additional information on the 2023 honorees visit

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