Les Nomades means the nomads in French – a somewhat ironic name for a restaurant that is a mainstay of the Chicago dining scene, having operated since 1978 out of a historic 1891 brownstone.

Unlike its name, the long-tenured Les Nomades isn’t going anywhere. In fact, its Old World décor and formal style are hardly relics of bygone fine dining, but rather refreshingly counter-trend in an age when top chefs are going downscale with casual, noisy restaurants and even food trucks.

Les Nomades is not stuffy or snobby, just respectable and elegant, according to owner Mary Beth Liccioni. And very romantic.

“Our service is formal – we follow certain rules of behavior,” she says, “but our service is warm and the environment comfortable.”

The old saw that “the food makes the meeting” puts extra pressure on traveling business professionals who demand quality catering for important meetings in cities nationwide.

For any business travelers – think sales representatives in particular – consistently finding strong catering options is a challenge. For caterers and restaurants, finding out-of-town business is equally challenging. Fortunately, one company exists that helps both sides find each other. 

ezCater Inc., headquartered in the “food-tech” hub of Boston, Mass.,  has facilitated connections between caterers and catering customers since 2007. According to CEO and co-founder Stefania Mallett, this unique service has caught on in a big way: to date, ezCater has sent its caterers orders for food for more than 2 million people. 

Global Brands Limited began because of one man’s dream to bring the American hamburger to the Caribbean in 1986. Since then, it has expanded to become a leading quick-service restaurant [QSR] company in the Caribbean offering a variety of food and beverage options.

President Mario Sabga-Aboud opened the first Burger Boys restaurant, which is similar to Burger King, but offered “Big Boy” and “Little Boy” burgers in Trinidad in 1986. After he fulfilled his dream of bringing the American hamburger to Trinidad and Tobago and the restaurant was successful, he wanted to expand. Pizza Boys was opened shortly after. “I always ask myself what’s next,” he says. “That chain started to grow so after that I go into bakery items because there was a need for that. After that we got into Chinese food, donuts and coffee.” 

MTR Gaming Group owns and operates three casinos in the very competitive gaming markets of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Besides gambling, and to complement it, MTR Properties offers a variety of other enjoyable features that significantly add value and fun to the guest experience – the most important of which are food and drink. In fact, the value and variety of food beverage offerings at a casino play a critical role in packing customers in, day after day. 

“By offering value, quality, and fun dining options that are second to none,” MTR President Joseph Billhimer says, “our casinos continually attract new customers but also keep current customers happy, loyal and coming back. 

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. may be known for its craft beer, but that does not mean it’s not a family friendly place, Director of Sales Mary Oldham says. “We’re a casual, fun place that you can bring your kids to,” she asserts. “It has a great, broad appeal.”

Located in Half Moon Bay, Calif., the Brewing Co. operates a 6,000-square-foot restaurant bar that specializes in seafood and home-brewed beer. Co-owner Lenny Mendonca co-founded the company in 2000. A former partner of McKinsey & Co., Mendonca also spent many years as a home brewer.

“He was always talking about how we needed a brewery here on the coast,” Oldham recalls. When the Brewing Co.’s location became available, Mendonca partnered with several local families to start the company.

In 2003, the Brewing Co. opened its brewery, making it the first legal brewery in Half Moon Bay since 1873. “We just celebrated our 10th year of brewing on site,” Oldham says. Mendonca today shares ownership in the company with his wife, Christine Mendonca.

Folks who visited the original Fox’s Den Pizzas 40 years ago will find many of the same things today. The family owned and operated company still makes authentic Italian pizzas using hand-tossed dough topped with a proprietary and award-winning pizza sauce. Among its ingredients, the company still boasts San Marzano-style grown tomatoes, and a freshly grated Italian Pecorino Romano cheese from the rugged Apennine mountains of Central Italy blended with a special grade of Italian extra virgin olive oil. When it comes to the menu, the same standards set decades ago remains today. In fact, the only major thing about the company that has changed is its size. 

Fox’s Den Pizza has 300 franchises located across the country. When it comes to its transportation, distribution and logistics, the company uses a mix of in-house personnel and third-party partners to get ingredients to the right locations at the right times. General Manager Jeff Holsing says the company’s growth has caused some shifts in the corporate infrastructure

Eat’n Park Hospitality Group Inc. is in business to please people through its portfolio of regional foodservice concepts that focus on personalized dining.

The Homestead, Pa.-based company began as a single drive-in restaurant with carhops in Pittsburgh in 1949. Today, the 65-year-old company manages seven different restaurant companies and serves more than 50 million guests every year. Eat’n Park Hospitality Group states that people are its common focus throughout each branch of the organization. 

Some restaurants aim for the casual-dining format, and others fit in the take-out category. Dion’s Pizza has found success by being in between both, CEO Mark Herman says. “We are kind of the best of both worlds,” he declares.

Based in Albuquerque, N.M., Dion’s Pizza operates 19 locations in New Mexico, Texas and Colorado that specialize in pizza, submarine sandwiches and salads. Founders Jon Patten and Bill Scott started the company in 1978.

The two men were friends who moved from Michigan to Albuquerque with the plan of opening a Greek restaurant. After buying a space that formerly served pizza, Patten and Scott had the perfect name for their Greek restaurant, “Dionysus,” after a god in Greek mythology.

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