Awards News

One Fort Worth restaurateur is inducted into TRA's prestigious Hall of Honor

One Fort Worth restaurateur is inducted into TRA's Hall of Honor

Railhead Smokehouse
Of course it's BBQ. Photo by Malcolm Mayhew

Three Texas restaurateurs will receive a prestigious recognition by their peers at an annual awards ceremony by the Texas Restaurant Association.

The event is the Texas Restaurant Awards at the Lone Star Bash, taking place Sunday July 11 in San Antonio at the Brisco Western Art Museum, and the three recipients are:

  • Charlie Geren, owner of Railhead Smokehouse in Fort Worth
  • Mark Davis Bailey, owner of the Original Pancake House DFW in Dallas
  • Creed Ford III (posthumously) of Ford Restaurant Group in Austin

The Lone Star Bash is part of a weekend of events surrounding TRA Marketplace, the largest industry trade show and educational conference in the southwestern U.S.

The three recipients will be inducted into TRA's Hall of Honor, which is the most prestigious recognition the association can bestow.

Nominees must have been an active TRA member for a minimum of 15 years and demonstrate superior business ethics and leadership within the industry. Nominees must also have helped to build the image of the Texas food service industry overall.

Charlie Geren is a barbecue pitmaster, rancher, and Texas State Representative. He and his family are residents of Tarrant County, where he serves as the President of the Railhead Smokehouse, a Fort Worth staple.

He was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2000, and currently serves as Chairman of the Local and Consent Calendars Committee. He's also a trustee of Texas Christian University and VP of the Southwestern Exposition & Livestock Show.

Mark Davis Bailey, owner of the Original Pancake House-DFW, got his first taste of foodservice while working in the student cafeteria at Texas Tech University, eventually becoming Student Manager of the largest unit on campus. Original Pancake House DFW currently has eight locations, with staff who boast of Mark's generosity and servant leadership. He's a past president of the Greater Dallas Chapter and State Board of the Texas Restaurant Association and continues to serve both as emeritus.

Creed Ford III was a restaurateur with a long history of leadership and mentorship in the industry. Before his untimely passing in 2018, he was Co-Chief Executive Officer for Fired Up, Inc. and a president of Ford Restaurant Group. During his 43-year career, Ford was involved with numerous restaurant concepts either through ownership, as an operator, or as an investor. He's a former Chairman of the Texas Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (now the Texas Restaurant Foundation), and served on the board of Nolan Ryan Beef Company, TC4 Restaurant Company, and Little Woodrow's Inc. His son, Creed Ford IV, also an accomplished restaurateur, will accept the award on his behalf.

"The three honorees this year exemplify leadership and hospitality," says Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of the TRA. "It is a huge honor for the Texas Restaurant Association to recognize these distinguished leaders for their contributions to their communities, families, and the industry at large. Please join me in acknowledging their efforts and impact."

Other awards presented at the event include the Texas Restaurateur of the Year and the Rising Star Award. Winners are chosen by a mix of staff, board members, sponsors, and TRA members, and will be announced at the Lone Star Bash. Finalists were announced in June and can be viewed at This is the sixth year for the bash; tickets are $195 and can be purchased at