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Tracy Kosbau
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April 14, 2015

Wisconsin Restaurant Industry Leader Honored with Faces of Diversity Award

Cherry Perkins from Mr. Perkin’s Family Restaurant was selected as the Wisconsin finalist for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Faces of Diversity – American Dream award.

The American Dream award celebrates members of the restaurant and foodservice industry who are the best representation of how, through hard work and determination, one can achieve the American Dream in this industry.

Her restaurant, Mr. Perkins Family Restaurant., the iconic soul food establishment in Milwaukee, has been a beloved destination for celebrities, politicos, sports stars and of course their loyal and diverse customer base. The restaurant was opened in 1969 by Willie Perkins, Sr. and his wife Hilda. In 1999 Cherry and her husband, Will Perkins, Jr., took over daily operations from Will’s parents. Ms. Perkins had a successful career in corporate America, but soon embraced the bustling restaurant business. Sadly, her husband passed away in 2010 after battling cancer. She made the brave decision to continue operating the restaurant even though the economic climate was particularly challenging. It hasn’t always been easy, but she has succeeded and along the way she’s helped others by being a mentor and a leader.

Ms. Perkins was encouraged to apply for the award by WRA staff who were impressed with her positivity and tenacity. In her application Ms. Perkins described the American Dream as “the ideal that everyone should have equal opportunities to achieve his or her goals, live a prosperous life and be financially able to do so.” WRA’s President and CEO, Ed Lump, shared this about Ms. Perkins, “Cherry is a warm and genuine person who welcomes customers as though they are family or dear friends visiting her own home. It may not have originally been her dream to assume the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities of keeping Mr. Perkins Family Restaurant going, but she has achieved so much and deserves to be recognized.”

The national winners for the Faces of Diversity American Dream Awards were honored during the National Restaurant Association’s annual Public Affairs Conference, April 12 – 13 in Washington, DC. Perkins did not win at the national level.

For more information and for a list of the national winners of the Faces of Diversity Awards, visit the National Restaurant Association’s web site at http://www.nraef.org/Build-Talent/Industry-Awards/Faces-of-Diversity/Recipients

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Since 1933, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association has been dedicated
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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