When the light is the brightest, the best shines through.
Each May, just like clockwork, the National Restaurant Association puts on a show. Not just any show, but, THE SHOW. The big one. A gathering so big that it takes one of the largest show spaces in the country to house it. And, if you arent careful it could swallow you up in one tasty bite.
This annual get together is intended to give restaurant industry types a peek into whats new on their scene. Its vast. It boasts nearly 2,000 exhibitors. Its WAY to much to attempt to cover in one day. Even with a plan of attack.
If youre looking for a couple of new menu items for your restaurant this is obviously a mega resource. If youre in the market for a brand new shiny cooler then this a great opportunity. Not only can you see it, but, you can touch it and play with it. Get an expert demo and maybe even haggle price. Its all there.
Heres some good news. Ive got a front row seat for you. You wont have to walk ten miles of aisles to get a glimpse of whats on the floor. I did it for you. Lets have a look at whats on display this year at the National Restaurant Show.
There was an all-star lineup of guest speakers. The biggest of the big make this show.
I got the opportunity to hear Bourdain. And, as you would expect in an uncensored and unfiltered environment filled with industry insiders he was at his best. Its a lesson in culinary storytelling 101. Highlights here.
When I attended the show two years ago, Coco Cola was just introducing their FreeStyle beverage dispensing equipment. Back then the line to try one out was LONG. Two years later it hasnt shrunk one bit. If you never had the opportunity of use one of these things, let me tell you its a fun pour. Youll never think of a Coke machine the same way again.
If youre looking for specialty cooking equipment this is pretty close to a one stop shopping experience. That plate of fried chicken above is cooked with equipment from the Broaster Chicken Company. People lined up a good long way for the chance to try it out. And, it was pretty damn tasty.
If you want to talk about lines, the discussion starts and ends with Vienna Beef. A line wrapped almost completely around their display space for a chance to sample a full sized, fully loaded Chicago dog. The line was so long they fed you samples of other Vienna products (can you say Ditka Polish Sausage) while you waited for the main course. It was, undoubtedly worth the wait!
Lets talk deli meats (and cheese). Every year Dietz & Watson puts on a display that is jaw dropping. Im not certain what it costs them each year to pull this off. But, I would imagine its a large number. It is almost like they have built a full sized, real deli right in the middle of the convention hall. Serving full size sandwiches to all who would like to sample them. No need for the Please use a toothpick sign here. A sign that reads both hands recommended would be more appropriate.
There are a delicious displays around each turn in the carpet. Here are some that really stood out.
Revisiting the show in printed form is exhausting enough. The full NRA show experience would require you to seriously consider a diet after it closes up shop. Luckily, you get all of the info and none of the calories by just reading