Making the Most of Mardi GrasFebruary 12, 2013 By: Alissa Ponchione
Today, bar owners can count on one thing that will have customers coming out no matter what: Mardi Gras. And to celebrate, Carnivale in Chicago is hosting a big blow out, counting on return clientele to make this year’s party unforgettable.
“Since Mardi Gras is a New Orleans thing, we call it carnivale,” explains Chad Wunderlich, assistant manager of the Latin fusion restaurant. Carnivale’s theme revolves around energetic colors, glamour and wild design. They encourage everyone to live a colorful life and Carnivale’s Fat Tuesday celebration will be no different.
They will hand out beads and masks, have live music, as well as stilt walkers throughout the venue. A photo booth will provide souvenir photos that guests can take home, he says. In addition, Executive Chef David Dworshak will create a menu that includes Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo, Blackened Redfish, Smoked Pork Belly and Apple Cream Cheese Bread Pudding.
Bars around the U.S., celebrate Mardi Gras in all sorts of ways. However, Wunderlich says Carnivale is able to differentiate itself from the competition because of its unique Latin theme. The “energy and vibe of the restaurant speaks for itself,” he says.
The 35,000-square-foot restaurant does everything big, so “Mardi Gras is just icing on the cake,” Wunderlich adds. Throughout the years, the restaurant has had different entertainment and specials, but the common theme has remained the same: to party and have a great time.
“Letting it all hang out, that’s what Fat Tuesdays is all about,” says Wunderlich. The entertainment starts at 7 p.m. on Feb. 12, and Wunderlich says Carnivale’s celebration “means a lot to people.”
The event itself takes a lot of moving parts to make it work. There are different people involved throughout every aspect, from the chef to the bartenders to marketing people. After brainstorming the ideas, it’s about a month out from the promotion that things finally start moving quickly and those ideas are implemented.
From there, Wunderlich and his team count on their own website, Twitter, Facebook and newly launched smartphone app to get the word out. Ultimately, making a profit from the event is most important but it’s not the only thing. “It’s also about the entertainment,” and making sure people in the restaurant have a good time, he says. “The guest is always the forefront of everything we do here.”