FRLA’s 2014 Restaurateur of the Year!


  At FRLA’s annual gala, Hall of Fame Awards were given to individuals representing the industry. Qualifications for the prestigious Restaurateur Hall of Fame Award include having a personal record of industry achievement over a period of at least 20 years. Only those nominees who have attained career distinctions of the highest level and are held in high esteem for their distinguished service to their industry, community, charitable organizations and family were considered.   The award was presented to Bill Shumate of Bella’s Italian Café in Tampa, Florida and Square 1 Burgers & Bar in various Tampa Bay locations, Sarasota and Fort Myers. Bill Shumate opened his first restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma in 1964, a burger joint called “Across the Street.” It was located across the street from the University of Oklahoma. Eventually, in the late 80’s, Bill decided to help cultivate a vision to bring the people of Tampa authentic Italian cuisine. Twenty-four years later, he’s still running Bella’s Italian Cafe alongside his business partner and Executive Chef Joanie Corneil. Inspired by a yearning to go back to his burger restaurant roots, he began developing a new concept in 2006 for a burger restaurant in Tampa and named it “Square 1 Burgers.” Bill is back to Square 1. –FRLA

    “State Association honors restaurateur with location in University Park” –Bradenton Herald   “Square 1 Burgers founder Shumate named to Hall of Fame” –Tampa Bay Business Journal