CRA names Los Angeles business leader Chair of Board of Directors




(Sacramento, CA) —The California Restaurant Association is proud to announce that Madelyn Alfano, a successful longtime restaurateur and leader in the Los Angeles business community, has been named Chairperson of the CRA Board of Directors.

Alfano, who is owner and president of the popular LA restaurant, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, was inspired to pursue her lifelong passion for food by her parents. Maria’s Italian Kitchen, which has been awarded Best Italian Restaurant in the L.A. Times Readers’ Choice Awards, was founded by her mother, Maria Alfano. Under Madelyn’s leadership, it has grown to eight restaurants that have created jobs for 300 people. Today, Alfano’s restaurants are well acquainted with the struggle that all California restaurants are enduring, with their dining rooms largely closed and the ever-changing impacts of coronavirus still unfolding.

“It’s an uncertain time in the restaurant business, but restaurateurs are the most hardworking, creative people in the world,” Alfano said. “I welcome the challenge of leading my fellow restaurateurs – together, we are better! I am grateful for the CRA, which quickly pivoted operations to focus almost entirely on providing restaurants the resources and support they need to navigate the future.”

In addition to running her own business, Alfano is active in business leadership, serving as the foundation chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners, Los Angeles, and as the co-chair for the YPO International Hospitality Network. Alfano sits on the Board of Advisors for the UCLA Anderson Business School and UCLA Undergraduate School. She also serves as President of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce and offers her expertise regularly to TV audiences as part of the small business council for CNBC.

“Madelyn is a leader in every room she walks into,” said CRA President and CEO, Jot Condie. “She has an unmatched ability to clearly visualize a path forward and take action even during uncertain times. We are particularly grateful to have her leadership as chair of the board during the unprecedented economic crisis restaurants and communities face today.”

Alfano graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in psychology in 1980 and MDE, an advanced degree in entrepreneurship,  from the UCLA Anderson Business School in 2015.


Awards and Honors for Madelyn Alfano

  • Top 50 Women Business Owners in Los Angeles for the past 10 years
  • Top 25 Enterprising Women in Los Angeles – Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Business Owner/CEO of the Year – Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Woman of the Year – California Legislative Women’s Caucus
  • Women in Business Champion of the Year – L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Alumnae of the Year for Community Service – UCLA; Alfano was honored for helping the disabled community and for her work on Operation Gratitude, providing aid to soldiers
  • Women of Inspiration Award from Shane’s Inspiration, an organization that builds accessible playgrounds
  • Beacon Award – The Foodservice Council for Women; this award was created to recognize a woman leader who has served as a beacon for this industry through her leadership, contributions, and inspiration


Alfano’s term as Chair of the CRA Board of Directors began on September 1, 2020. The seat was most recently held by Theodore Balestreri, II, of the Sardine Factory and the Cannery Row Management Co., in Monterey. Balestreri remains on the board as immediate past chair.