Members of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association (ORA), Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association (OHLA), and Oklahoma Travel Industry Association (OTIA) came together on April 25, 2023, to host Oklahoma’s annual Hospitality Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol and “A Tasteful Affair” Legislative Reception at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Oklahoma City Downtown Medical Center. “It’s imperative to have Hospitality Day where Oklahoma’s hospitality industry can come together as one voice and speak with elected officials,” said James Leewright, Chief Executive Officer of the ORA, OHLA, and OTIA. “The hospitality industry plays a significant role in Oklahoma’s economy, providing thousands of jobs, generating tax revenues, and giving time and money back to communities.” Restaurants, hotels and lodging, and tourism are major players in Oklahoma’s economy. According to the National Restaurant Association, in 2021, Oklahoma eating and drinking establishments had estimated sales of $9.5 billion, and with every additional dollar spent in an Oklahoma restaurant, $1.94 was contributed to the state economy. The American Hotel & Lodging Association reports in 2021 the hotel industry brought in $1 billion in taxes to Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department accounts for tourism as the third largest industry in Oklahoma, collecting $10.1 billion for the state in 2021. “Our three associations [ORA, OHLA, & OTIA] are working hard to advocate for the industry and provide solutions with programs that support workforce development, educational training, and provide opportunities for industry leaders to come together,” Leewright said. Hospitality Day ended with a scrumptious gathering of approximately 400 legislators, state leaders, and industry professionals for the evening’s “A Tasteful Affair” Legislative Reception at the Embassy Suites OKC Downtown Medical Center. Thirty of Oklahoma’s exceptional restaurants and breweries showcased their culinary and beverage tastings. 2023 Culinary and Beverage Tasting Participants: 84 Hospitality Anthem Brewing Company Boulevard Steakhouse / Sparrow / Cafe 501 Chocolate Nosh, LLC COOP Ale Works Dead Armadillo Craft Brewing Edge Craft Barbeque Gopuram Taste of India Henderson Coffee / Ronnoco Iron Monk Brewing Co. Lively Beerworks Marshall Brewing Co. Milo at the Ellison Ned's Catering / Ned's Starlite Lounge Pete's Place Prairie Artisan Ales Ricardo’s Running Wild Catering Santa Fe Cattle Co. Simply Falafel Inc. Stock & Bond at the First National Center, OKC Stonecloud Brewing Co. Sushi Neko The Chicken Shack The Jones Assembly The Kitchen by B&B Catering Urban Management Inc. Vanessa House Beer Co. The ORA would like to thank the Hospitality Day and “A Tasteful Affair” partners. Congressional partners are 110 Events, Auto-Chlor System, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Capitol Distributing, Clearwater Energy Services, Coca-Cola, Embassy Suites OKC Downtown Medical Center, Republic National Distributing Company, and Superior Linen Service. Advocate partners are Adesso Capitol, Ben E. Keith Co., Cintas, GoFresh, Heartland, McGregor Insurance Group, and ONE Gas. Their dedication and contributions benefit ORA members through the enhancement of events, special initiatives, and programs. Founded in 1933, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association is the trade association of restaurants and foodservice operations, the state's largest private industry employer. Representing more than 4,500 restaurants and members, the ORA actively monitors legislation and regulatory agencies; helps foodservice management develop and strengthen business; and develops the membership to do together for the industry what cannot be done individually.