A round-up of must-see booths with new and old innovative products at the National Restaurant Association Show

Over the course of four days, more than 18,000 suppliers and tens of thousands of buyers will visit the booths at the National Restaurant Association, Hotel-Motel Show taking place May 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Trends and topics highlighted at the almost 100-year-old show include operational issues, menu development, sustainability, marketing, technology, special dietary needs, health and nutrition. More than 70 educational sessions will be led by industry experts. Guests can experience what's possible in sustainable horticulture and urban farming at the McCormick Place Rooftop Garden Tour taking place on Sunday and Tuesday. In addition the International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event will coincide with the show May 18-19.

Stop by our May advertisers' must-see booths to learn about new products and see how they can be used in your restaurant.

DayMark • 866/517-0490, daymarksafety.com • Booth: 3201

The 9700 offers a range of features that no other unit on the market can boast, including an 8.4-inch Hot Touch Full Color display and a premier labeling provider bringing the most innovative labeling options to the prep table. The patent-pending DissolveMark Direct Thermal label technology allows flexibility in the kitchen and the performance you have come to expect from DayMark's Dissolve-a-way Labeling.

Equipex • 800/649-7885, equipex.com • Booth: 1612

Vitroceramic salamanders offer instant-on and infinite power setting features for movable top Vitroceramic models. The electric finishing ovens have a Quartz or Vitroceramic heating element. Models with an adjustable, movable top or a fixed top and adjustable bottom trays pull out with a wire rack. They can be free standing or wall mounted (kit optional), and infrared cooking enables operator to melt, brown, roast or glaze meat, fish, soups and desserts.

Worcester Industrial Products Corp. • 800/533-5711, shortening-shuttle.us • Booth: 1737

The Shortening Shuttle Waste Oil Carrier returns to the NRA Show for the 24th year. See the changes made to the device over the years. Representatives have models, accessories and ideas to help transport waste oil from kitchen to recycle area.

Alto-Shaam, Inc. • 262/251-3800, alto-shaam.com • Booth: 4840

Alto-Shaam's latest line of Combi ovens, the CT PROformance Combitherm Ovens, deliver a unique combination of features, expanding menu offerings by providing endless versatility and reliability in the kitchen. Considered an alternative for a convection oven, kettle, steamer, fryer, smoker and dehydrator, the line features the new PROpower setting. While in turbo mode, the CT PROformance operates up to 80 percent faster than conventional technology and can preheat up to 575 degrees Fahrenheit. The Absolute Humidity Control allows the user to select a precise humidity level from zero to 100 percent and the CombiSmoke feature increases versatility by allowing operators to smoke any product, hot or cold.

Robot Coupe USA • 800/824-1646, robot-coupe.com • Booth: 4037

The new table-top Robot Coupe CL51 Vegetable Prep Processor is designed to process from 20 to 300 meals per service. The CL51 has two hoppers that provide consistent processing of all fruits and vegetables and its kidney-shaped feed holds seven tomatoes; use its cylindrical feed tube for long, thin veggies. Slice, ripple cut, grate, julienne, dice and French fry in various sizes with its 52 steel discs.

Boggiatto • 831/424-8952, boggiattoproduce.com • Booth: 7928

Chefs have spoken. Garden Hearts are one of the most requested brands of romaine hearts in the industry. Why? Consistent quality, superior yield, minimal prep, and they are inexpensive. Your guests deserve the best and so does your bottom line.

Master-Bilt • 800/647-1284, master-bilt.com • Booth: 4257

Master-Bilt's ENERGY STAR qualified, bottom-mounted medium (BMG Plus) and low-temp (BLG Plus) glass door cooler and freezer merchandisers, deliver value and performance. High end design features include full-height glass doors, four adjustable cantilever shelves per door, and double strip LED lighting for maximum product visibility and illumination.

EdgeCraft home of Chef'sChoice • 800/342-3255, edgecraft.com • Booth: 3105

The Model 2100 Chef'sChoice Commercial Electric Knife Sharpener from EdgeCraft Corporation is a perfect solution for quickly sharpening knives in a cost and time efficient manner in today's commercial environment. Anyone can quickly and easily put a razor sharp edge on all commercial cutlery with this item. This three-stage Diamond Hone sharpener with advanced technology sharpens both fine-edge and serrated knives. It's dishwasher safe and includes a removable 20 degree edge sharpening module.

            Located on South Michigan Avenue near Millennium Park, The Gage (24 S. Michigan, 312/372-4243) is the perfect place to go for some fine dining, or tasty appetizers and drinks.  It is run by the Lawless family who has been in the hospitality industry since 1977.  They are originally from Galway, Ireland where they owned several renowned bars, restaurants and hotels.
A favorite dish among visitors is Today’s Fish and Chips which includes a Guinness battered-fish with malt tartar sauce and lemon.  If you just want to stop in for lunch, try one of the specialty sandwiches such as the Gage Venison Burger which comes with smoked Gouda, fried jalapeño, woodland mushroom, pickled onion and mustard aioli.   
Enjoy a delightful and light appetizer like the House Smoked Rainbow Trout or the Spring Pea Soup. With that, order a local craft beer such as The Two Brothers Cane & Ebel or the Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey.

The Gage, open-close, every day:

Sundays from 10 am to 10 pm (bar closes at 12 am)
Mondays from 11 am to 10 pm (bar closes at 12 am)
Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 am to 2 am and Saturdays from 10 am to 12 am (bar closes at 3 am).

-Christina Danno