Splash/Jethro's Founder and Owner Bruce Gerleman of Des Moines Named 2012 Iowa Restaurant Association Restaurateur of the Year

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Splash/Jethro's Founder and Owner Bruce Gerleman of Des Moines Named 2012 Iowa Restaurant Association Restaurateur of the Year


Des Moines restaurateur Bruce Gerleman, owner/operator of Splash and what will soon be four Jethro’s BBQ and Smokehouse restaurants across the Greater Des Moines area, has been named the Iowa Restaurant Association Restaurateur of the Year.  Gerleman accepted the award on September 23 at an awards ceremony at the Meadows Event Center at Prairie Meadows.

“This award honors the restaurant owner who inspires patrons, employees and the industry,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “Bruce exemplifies restaurant excellence. He is a leader in the industry and the community alike.”

The honor was presented to Gerleman by the Chairmen of both the Iowa Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Board of Directors Mike Rastrelli of Clinton, Iowa and Phil Hickey of Atlanta, Georgia.

Splash Seafood Bar & Grill Long Standing Success
Bruce Gerleman has overseen the restoration of many notable historic buildings including the Homestead Building which houses his enormously successful fine dining restaurant Splash Seafood Bar & Grill.  He opened Splash in 1998, convinced the community was ready for a fine dining establishment offering jet fresh seafood and an award-winning wine list.  The restaurant continues to be one of city’s most popular dining spots.

Jethro’s BBQ and Smoked Meats Garners National Attention

In 2008, Gerleman expanded his restaurant offerings and opened the first of what will soon be four locations of the Jethro’s BBQ concept. Jethro’s smokes its own meats and offers side dishes inspired by the fine dining dishes of Splash. Jethro’s success has taken on a life of its own garnering the attention of the national media. It has been featured on Man vs. Food, was an ESPN National Fanwich Runner-up, was named the Travel Channel’s Manliest Restaurant in the Midwest and was selected the favorite BBQ of Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.

Gerleman Credits Team
Gerleman credits much of his success to surrounding himself with great people and providing them with opportunities to grow. “His success in the industry and commitment to open the doors of opportunity for others in the industry makes him an excellent choice for the Iowa Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurateur of the Year,” concluded Dunker.

Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s hospitality industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.  www.restaurantiowa.com.

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Media Contact: Jessica Dunker, jdunker@restaurantiowa.com


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