Jennifer Pettinger - The Windy City is Wonderful
Chicago is a fabulous city. Go. NOW. You won't regret it. You don't even need to fly an American carrier, Emirates goes direct. There may be only three of us who were unaware of this fact, but as soon as you start mentioning Chicago people are like 'oh I loooove Chicago'. Bottom line Chicago needs better PR.
Due Pizzeria by the same people as the famous Uno is where the locals go for their deep dish fix. It is worth the calories but believe them that you only need a small portion between two of you. Seriously I still had some for brekkie.
The Restaurants and Bars are cutting edge. Even that jaded NRA folk get excited by what is going on in the city. There seems to be a real energy and buzz and lack of pretension. The buildings are glorious and the Trump's terrace bar is a great place to see it from. It is a totally walkable city. Wrap up though it gets chilly.
Au Cheval has scrumptious burgers, rated the best in the US, however you do have to put up with a side of hipster attitude. Thankfully the burgers are worth suffering the hipster wait- staff.
The Trump hotel is wonderful, on many levels. The suite was that rare kind that is just the right mix of useable space and decadence. Brilliant touches like a charging device with USB ports and international plugs as well as the all-important 'kill switch'. Very importantly the robe had the perfect amount of fluff. The floor to ceiling windows in the bedroom were fab.
The NRA show is HUGE, you need a plan and appointments. What is very obvious is that American's restaurant industry is massive and booming. A lot of the players consider moving into the next state a big leap. The USA is a large market and there are a lot of growth opportunities to explore internally before you even consider going overseas. Top trends in the industry include increasing awareness of food waste, 30% of the world's harvested food is never eaten. Aside from this being a huge moral issue it is a practical one that the NRA predicts is going to influence the behaviour of the industry and consumers. The 'NRA Finance Forum' was the best part of the show for me, the financing and M&A within the industry seems to be miles ahead of Europe. There are also a lot more stuffy suits. show.restaurant.org/
There is a great outlet mall next to the airport. Head out early to avoid traffic (which is brutal everywhere) and shop until they start boarding.