Ingrid Croce’s passion for life and belief in the vitality of San Diego are the essence of the Women’s Hall of Fame Spirit award!
After a career as a musician and performer and the tragic death of her husband, songwriter Jim Croce, Ingrid found ways to flourish in San Diego, becoming a self-made entrepreneur, restaurateur, author, publisher and philanthropist. Starting in the early 1970’s she led the movement to revamp San Diego’s run-down historic Gaslamp district. In 1985, she opened Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar at the corner of 5th and F in honor of her late husband.
A pioneer in the redevelopment of downtown San Diego, Ingrid proudly points to the hundreds of restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels now located in this vibrant community which serves as a national model.
Her passion for San Diego’s Gaslamp, led her to launch one of the most successful events in San Diego History-San Diego Restaurant Week! The event, which takes place twice a year, draws 250,000 guests and 150 participating restaurants. Based on this success, Ingrid recently produced a television pilot titled The Restaurant Week Travel Show.
Continuing her community efforts, Ingrid helped raise $250,000 for the prevention of life threatening diseases in pediatrics. Her efforts in raising such a large sum earned her the City of Hope’s Spirit of Life Award, the highest philanthropic honor bestowed by them. Ingrid also reached out to the community through the production of A Celebration of Women Chefs, developing a Food Service, Hospitality and Tourism curriculum for the SD Unified School District and Mesa College, working with the Center for Community Solutions to help rape crisis and domestic violence victims, and raising money for AIDS organizations through Croce, Rock, Nelson Productions.
In 2005 Ingrid established Avalanche Records and Books, creating and authoring Time In A Bottle, The San Diego Restaurant Cookbook and Thyme In A Bottle. She has served as co-producer and producer on several projects including: VH1’s Behind the Music special on Jim Croce, Have You Heard Jim Croce Live DVD, TNN’s The Jim Croce Life & Times, and three CDs: Jim Croce, Home Recordings, Americana; Facets; and Have You Heard Jim Croce Live.
Without a doubt Ingrid Croce embodies the essence of culture and community development worthy of the Spirit of the Women’s Hall of Fame!