Stella Awards 2021: Best Food and Beverage

NORTHEAST

Stellas 2021 Best F&B 2

gold star 2

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

Along with 1,996 guest rooms and 546,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., has a catering team known for creative menus and dining experiences. From breakout room to ballroom, groups can partake of a variety of morning and afternoon break packages, entrées covering a gamut of cuisine from Tunisian vegetable salad to Memphis dry-rub chicken, an array of boxed mean offerings and more.

Among the resort's in-house dining spots, the Old Hickory Steakhouse is a standout, serving premium beef, artisanal cheese and handcrafted cocktails in an elegant setting with an outdoor terrace.

silver star 1

Resorts Casino Hotel (A Mohegan Sun Property)

The food is a sure bet at the 942-room Resorts Casino Hotel, a Mohegan Sun Property in Atlantic City. On-site, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville can serve groups of up to 580, while the Landshark Bar & Grill can host up to 500. Group dining highlights include a build-your-own nachos station, a macaroni and cheese Bar and lots of coconut shrimp. The newly opened Dougherty's Steakhouse and Raw Bar also offers private group dining.

bronze 2

Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa

A year-round icon in the Hamptons on Long Island, less than three hours from New York City, Gurney's has 158 rooms and 25,000 square feet of event space. Guests head to Tillie's for breakfast or lunch with American favorites, while happy hours unfold at the outdoor Firepit with ocean views. Scarpetta Beach offers soulful Italian cuisine alongside fresh, locally caught seafood, and the culinary team also can organize seasonal lobster bakes, clambakes and beach barbecues.

Finalist: Ocean House

In Watch Hill, R.I., Relais & Chateaux's 49-room Ocean House delivers a full itinerary of food-related experiences such as complimentary culinary education courses at the on-site Center for Wine & Culinary arts and private group events at Fondue Village (fall/winter/spring), the Sipping Terrace (summer), the Secret Garden Crêperie or Verandah Raw Bar (summer). Groups also can enjoy dining at the 5-Forbes-star Coast or opt to learn how to forage for food with the property's resident culinary educator.


SOUTHEAST

Stellas 2021 Best F&B 3

gold star 2

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

Nestled along South Florida's Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, the 369-room Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is home to nationally renown concept chef Carlo, who works his magic at eight unique dining venues and for private group events. Restaurants include JWB Prime Steak and Seafood for just that, including a raw bar and extensive roster of world-class wines and hand-crafted cocktails, and the Margaritaville Restaurant, It's scenic spot on the boardwalk ideal for private group dining.

The resort's F&B operation includes an expansive banquets menu and custom food options for nearly any event taking place among some 30,000 square feet of combined indoor/outdoor function space.


silver star 1

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

An expert catering staff and award-winning culinary team await at the 1,718-room Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center In Kissimmee, Fla. Executive chef John Janucik and crew prepares most of the food in the resort's banquet kitchens from scratch, allowing them to design custom menus to fit the theme of an event. Locally sourced items, sustainable ingredients and farm-to-table freshness are the keys here, for groups taking advantage of the property's 500,000 square feet of meeting space.

bronze 2

Rosen Shingle Creek

The numbers impress at Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek: 1,501 guest rooms, 524,000 square feet of meeting/event space and 15 unique dining options, headlined by the A Land Remembered steak house, offering Florida specialties and southern delicacies. Executive chef Jorge Oliviera ably presides over every catered event or meal at the property, in venues such as Cafe Osceola, Banrai Sushi and Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, and in spaces such as a 95,000-square-foot column-free ballroom.

Finalist: Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

A variety of spaces and venues at the 247-room Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, Autograph Collection, make it easy to tailor F&B experiences to all sizes of groups, whether a dinner for 14 in an art-lined boardroom or a grand banquet for up to 150 in the 2,200-square-foot Kessler Ballroom. The hotel, with 10,107 square feet of meeting space, also is home to the Red Stag Grill, the Bosendorfer Lounge and the main restaurant, Boheme, for premium beef, seafood and more.

Finalist: Rosen Centre

An award-winning culinary team lead by executive chef Michael McMullen governs the F&B at the 1,334-room Rosen Centre in Orlando. When not designing private meals for groups gathering in any of the more than 150,000 square feet of meeting space, the team creates special dining experience at nine versatile on-site outlets, including Floridian favorites at Everglades Restaurant, Caribbean-Cuban flavors at Harry's Poolside Bar & Grill and fusion food accompanied by premium tequilas at 98Forty Tapas & Tequila.


MIDWEST

Stellas 2021 Best F&B 4

gold star 2

Viceroy Chicago

Surrounded by the myriad dining and shopping options of Michigan Avenue and Magnificent Mile, the 180-room Viceroy Chicago more than holds its own in the cozy confines of its group-friendly Somerset restaurant and exterior patio. Here's where chef Stephen Gillanders serves artfully crafted seasonal American cuisine, along with off-shore surprises like crispy Mediterranean sea bass with katafi (a Middle Eastern pastry, often sweet), yuzu kosho nage (a citrus chill paste from Japan) and broccolini.

Up on the 18th floor, the rooftop Devereaux lounge (and seasonal pool) is where attendees often flock at sunset for the views and a menu of craft cocktails and delicious bites like tempura buffalo cauliflower. With a total of 12,581 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor event space, the hotel can cater events ranging from small buffets in an intimate studio setting to banquets for up to 170 in the grand ballroom.


silver star 1

Grand Hotel

Built in 1887, the landmark 397-room Grand Hotel on picturesque Mackinac Island, Mich., has 22,000 square feet of distinctive event space and many group dining options on tap. Popular with planners is an hourlong grand cocktail reception for up to 400 people in the Grand Pavilion, cookouts in the Grand Hotel Tea Garden and after-hours gatherings in the Fort Mackinac Tea Room. Each group is assigned a personal convention manager to help them choose the best dining options for their event.

bronze 2

MotorCity Casino Hotel

While the culinary team at Detroit's 400-room MotorCity Casino Hotel are well-versed in the art of pulling off a perfect banquet for up to 1,263 in its grand ballroom, the property has lots of other options for food-related events, from pop-up food carts dispensing delicious prime rib or Asian fare, to five restaurants ranging from deli to sushi, comprising an in-house food court.

Finalist: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

In the woodlands of Lake Geneva, Wis., the 356-room Grand Geneva Resort has more than 62,000 square feet of function space and caters dining events of all sizes with a focus on local and sustainable ingredients. Popular requests include chef-led cooking classes, customized wine dinners, pasta-making classes and more. Planners also can take groups outdoors among the resort's 1,300 acre Lake Geneva landscape with live-action stations such as seafood boils, barbecues and pig roasts.


SOUTHWEST

Stellas 2021 Best F&B 6

gold star 2

Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center

Sharing a 5,200-acre campus with its namesake university, the 250-room Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center in College Station has 35,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, along with a strong commitment to providing healthy, scratch-prepared dishes made from locally sourced foods and using traditional local cooking techniques.

The hotel's farmer's table restaurant, Brazos – Proper Texas Kitchen, along with the Block T Bar & Grill offer authentic local flavors in relaxed settings, while the on-site meeting facilities can accommodate banquets of anywhere from 40 to 500 people, the latter in the magnificent 8,205-square-foot Century Ballroom. In deference to attendee concerns during the pandemic, individually packaged meals and self-service refreshment breaks are provided.

silver star 1

The Broadmoor

Nestled in the foothills below Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colo., The Broadmoor first opened in 1918 and today houses guests in 784 beautifully appointed rooms. The property showcases two championship golf courses, along with 20 restaurants, cafés and lounges with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. Group dining at these venues and among 315,000 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor meeting space is supported by fully-customizable menus for special breakfasts, lunches, breaks, buffets and uniquely themed dinners.

bronze 2

AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

Located at the University of Texas at Austin, the 297-room AT&T Hotel and Conference Center has more than 85,000 square feet of meeting space and a conference-services staff that ably handles F&B for groups utilizing the property's 85,000 square feet of meeting space. The on-site Gabriel's Café serves locally inspired delights like grilled chicken breast, pan-seared filet, longhorn burgers, glazed salmon, blackened shrimp and grits, and more. Texas Memorial Stadium is nearby.

Finalist: Halcyon, a Hotel in Cherry Creek

At Denver's 154-room Halcyon, a new signature restaurant called Local Jones from famed executive chef Josh Sutcliff is getting raves for tasteful contemporary Colorado-themed cuisine. The venue features semi-private and private dining rooms for groups up to 20, while a full buyout can accommodate up to 268 guests. Two other on-site eateries, an attentive and talented F&B team and more than 6,500 square feet of meeting space mean myriad opportunities for custom-catered corporate gatherings.


FAR WEST

Stellas 2021 Best F&B 5

gold star 2

The Ranch Malibu

The Ranch Malibu in California, a historic working ranch with 19 guest cottages, is a leader in the growing trend of corporate wellness programming, and that includes serving delicious healthy meals from a kitchen eager to share its secrets. Daily diets feature fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes and seeds as part of a delicate balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fat and taste, all designed to help fuel guests' active days, promote weight loss, and build a healthier mind and body.

Guests have meals in a communal setting, whether indoors or out, including an outdoor garden café, a greenhouse or post-hike lunches on the beach. Menu favorites include plant-based takes on classic comfort foods, like warm spinach and zucchini lasagna with marinara sauce and nut-based ricotta cheese, the signature Burrito Bowl and a hearty yet flavorful Portobello steak.


silver star 1

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

The mammoth 4,049-room Venetian's food offerings, across more than 35 on-site dining options, feature both vegan and vegetarian options, with fresh food sourced from organic and artisan suppliers within a 300-mile radius of the resort. Noted French master chef Olivier Dubreuil and executive banquet chef Chris Huang create custom gourmet menus to suit the needs of both large and small groups, tapping into the diversity of an extensive kitchen staff to craft ethnic-inspired dishes, often fusing multiple culinary traditions in innovative ways.

bronze 2

Hyatt Regency Lake Washington

In Seattle's booming Southport mixed-use complex, the-347 room Hyatt Regency Lake Washington routinely serves guests award-winning farm-to-table fare at World's Table, including outdoor dining on a heated patio, and Dock & Drink for locally inspired cocktails, street tacos and more. For banquets, the property also offers Personal Preference Dining, which lets groups choose their own entrées from custom-printed menus.


INTERNATIONAL AND U.S. TERRITORIES

Stellas 2021 Best F&B 7

gold star 2

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

As a popular Caribbean vacation and meetings destination, the Cayman Islands are a fertile ground for creative beverage and culinary activities, to which the 264-room Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa adds its own panache and style. Recent group food events have included a two-night, seven-course extravaganza for a group of 28 on the outdoor Beach Deck, with over 20 restaurants participating. The Back 2 Roots Dinner series uses only locally sourced vegetables, protein and staples, with locals farmers as guest speakers

The resort also has three dining venues presided over by famed chef Massimo De Francesca: Ave, the main restaurant, features Mediterranean cuisine with a Caribbean kick; Avecita is an exhibition-style restaurant within Ave and includes a Spanish tapas-style menu; and the on-the-beach Coccoloba is the place for Mexican street tacos and gorgeous views.


silver star 1

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

On Mexico's beautiful Pacific Coast, the luxury-class 433-room Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa has a top-notch catering team serving exquisite food from coffee breaks to banquets. Dining options range from an authentic Ixtapan breakfast to a midday Taste of Mexico or sumptuous dinner buffet under the stars. On-site restaurants include La Estancia (Mexican), Mikado (Japanese), Champions Sports Bar (American) and Las Casitas (seafood).

bronze 2

Marriott Cancun Resort

Sitting astride a pristine shoreline, the 447-room JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa features six specialty international restaurants that invite guests to savor Japanese, Thai, Asian and American cuisines. At the SacBe Beach Shack, for example, with macrame hammocks and suspended bar stools, the resort can set up chef-driven dinners at Moroccan-style tables in the sand. More extensive F&B events for groups include a master-chef competition with teams competing to create a three-course meal, to be judged by the chefs.