Local professionals got a generous sample of the suburban hospitality industry Thursday during the fifth annual Daily Herald Business Ledger's Hospitality Expo -- Chicago Northwest.
More than 800 people had a chance to meet more than 75 vendors at the Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre in Hoffman Estates. Vendors ranged from restaurants and caterers to hotels, conference centers and entertainment providers, all offering creative alternatives to the routine business outing.
Attendees sampled foods including fresh deep bay oysters, served up by Shaw's Crab House, to chicken and waffles in a jalapeņo pecan syrup and Super Grain bowls from Punch Bowl Social in Schaumburg. They also got a chance to play casino games from a number of vendors such as GSH Casino of Des Plaines and U.S. Poker and Casino, as well as be part of a music video from Game Show Gurus.
The event was not only a good place for event planners and organizers to get ideas and make contacts for future endeavors, but also for the vendors, who got a chance to talk shop with their brethren.
"We like the partnership opportunities that arise with some of the vendors and we like the opportunity to meet people walking around here," said Erin Juache, senior manager at Shaw's Crab House.
For Michael Oboikovitz of GSH Casino, the expo was an opportunity "to meet some new friends and hopefully get some new business."
"We just like getting out and meeting new people and seeing what else is out there," Oboikovitz said while demonstrating his casino card table to passers-by.