Daniel is 37 years old, and lives in Mayfield, KY with his wife of eleven years and his five children. He studied Political Science at Murray State University in Murray, KY and Hospitality Management Sullivan University in Louisville, KY. His work experience includes managing his family's original restaurant - Carr's Barn BBQ, working for Lowe's Companies for several years, and being the managing partner at Carr's Steakhouse in Mayfield, KY.
Mr. Carr is as been a part of the National Restaurant Association since 2016. That year his restaurant was recognized by the NRA as it's National Restaurant Neighbor Award Winner for small business. In addition to the national award, the restaurant captured that title for the state of Kentucky in 2016, 2017, & 2018. Mr. Carr petitioned the NRA Show to include more ideas and voices like Chef Robert Irvine & Jon Taffer whose reality show efforts focus on struggling operators, their employees, and the families depending on them; and that by focusing on that segments needs the NRA show could grow its attendance and be a better lead generator for its exhibitors. In May of 2016 the NRA Show featured its first Super-Session as both Robert Irvine and Jon Taffer took the stage together. Daniel was elected to the Kentucky Restaurant Association's Board of Directors in 2017, and has served to present day., where he champions growing membership, especially outside Kentucky's major cities. In 2018 he was selected as Kentucky's Restaurateur of the Year Award Winner by the KRA. He served as Chairman Elect of the KRA Board for 2020, and became Chairman of the Board for the 2021 year.
The Carr family got into the restaurant in the 1950's when Daniel's grandparents opened the Carr's Barn Cafe. Over the next half a century it found its way to being an acclaimed BBQ roadstop in historic downtown Mayfield. The family has had four generations working in the historic diner. In 2011 the family opened Carr's Steakhouse across the street from their first location in the historic Shelton Building that dated back to the mid to late 1800's The building has an impressive historic as it first served as a Studebaker & Fish Brothers buggy dealership, and later many more things through the years. The abandoned buildings were revitalized when the steakhouse opened in 2011. In 2020, "ghost signs" or wall murals were uncovered with vintage ads for the buggy dealership as well as Coca Cola & Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco. They were revealed as the restaurant began making room for a large patio dining area during COVID.
On the night of December 10th, 2021, the "ghost signs", along with the award-winning steakhouse, the historic barbeque spot, and a large portion of the city of Mayfield, KY were obliterated by an F-4 tornado that wreaked havoc for hundreds of miles, leaving thousands without homes, water, heat, or power. In an instant thousands of lives were forever changed. The community that Daniel Carr calls home lost dozens and dozens of businesses, including a number of restaurants. It lost nearly every historic church in town, the courthouse, city hall, banks, the police station, the fire station, the school bus yard. The downtown area, and large neighborhoods with hundreds of homes were wiped away. The last few staff at the steakhouse left just minutes before the restaurant was completely destroyed. Among them were Daniel's brother, teenage son, sister-in-law, father-in-law, and two brother-in-laws.
The next day the Carr family and a handful of employees began digging through the two stories of brick, wood, and rubble; searching for essential items to ensure they could get payroll done and pay their staff. During their search they uncovered a handful of rare Kentucky Bourbons that miraculously survived on their top shelf and in their liquor cabinet. They soon decided to put the bottles into the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit that support the Team Kentucky West Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. After matching contributions from Kentucky Distillers, the bottles generated nearly $85,000 in charitable funds for the cause. On that first weekend following the disaster, regional and national media filled the town, and even the remnants of the restaurant parking lot. Before he knew it Daniel was giving interviews to CNN, MSNBC, the Today Show and more. Each time he made sure to put all the focus on his staff, and the hurting community, calling on people to show support and keep the community in their thoughts in the days, week, months, and years ahead. The work didnt stop there, as Daniel and his wife started a go-fund-me that raised $11,000 for their employees and their families; several of them lost their homes during the tornado, in addition to losing their employment. Daniel reached out to organizations on the ground in the community like the World Central Kitchen and Mercy Chefs to offer local support and connect them with members of his staff that wanted to work and contribute. Mr. Carr also put his people, and the other devastated restaurants in town in touch with a incredible charities like CORE. He coordinated with America's Best Restaurants in Florence, KY to provide Christmas gifts to affected restaurant families in the community. With the tremendous support of members of the Kentucky Restaurant Association, Daniel helped raise and distribute nearly $100,000 to restaurant owners that saw their restaurants decimated by the tornado and the aftermath.
Currently Mr. Carr is overseeing operations in a short-term location operating as Carr's Cafe in a business park that is now home to a number of displaced businesses from the downtown area. There he is able to provide work for a handful of his former steakhouse staff. As the weather warms they hope to roll out a food truck in the community and give employment to more of their former staff. Daniel Carr is hopeful that he and his family will be able to return to downtown Mayfield and rebuild their steakhouse, and continue to be part of his community, using his restaurant as a tool to impact peoples lives, and make a difference there once again.