The end of the fiscal year marks both mid-summer daydreams and annual meetings. These meetings are important to see how well things are going in the business, or where improvements could be made. No matter how important the meetings are, I will always find someone in the room who’s a blink away from taking a nap. My last meeting took place at the Casino Queen in Marquette, and while I expected the meeting to be like the average get together, what I experienced was nothing like I had imagined.
As I approached the Clayton County community, I was greeted by a large pink elephant sculpture who had her hat tipped to me. I cracked a smile at how odd yet charming the piece was. It clearly had an importance to the town, even if I couldn’t understand it. Once inside the Casino Queen, I was directed to the Sevens Room on the second floor, which opened up to a warm, spacious facility space. Once I took my seat, I stopped to admire the decor. The crisp white sheets, clean flatware, and charming decorations set out on the tables were thoughtful touches. As though I were in a trance, I sat up with a sudden jolt when the attentive server asked for my drink order. I ordered a glass of Marquette Maid’s Mrs. Sippi (I'd been craving a deep, drier wine). When the server came back, I swirled the dark red liquid in the glass, wafting its dry, earthy scent to my face before I took an aromatic sip.
Before the presentation began, we were invited to line up at the steaming buffet line. Once I sat back down with my plate, I was expecting average buffet quality food. When I took a bite of the broasted chicken, however, I was astounded. The food was amazing! I wasn’t the only one who thought so either. Across the room, I could hear murmurs of agreement-- everybody knew the food was fantastic. A gentleman sitting next to me had mentioned the executive chef was one of the highest rated chefs in Iowa, and all of the food was bought from local sources, including area growers and farmers markets. I could tell the quality was top notch. Even the tossed salad was so simple yet so delicious. The general manager, Don Ostert, took a moment to introduce us to the new Casino Queen, and how they were proud to be Iowa’s only employee-owned casino. Knowing that, it was easy to see why the service was so great. The Queen is self-run by employees, and that can make a huge difference in business.
Throughout the presentation, it took all of my willpower to hold back from grabbing another plate of food from the buffet line. Resisting temptation, I settled for being able to reminisce the flavor of the golden, crispy fried chicken, the delicately dressed spinach salad, and the sweet frosting that sat on top of the cake. Though it was a typical business meeting, the food was exceptional, the service was phenomenal, and the space was fantastic at the Casino Queen.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Casino Queen - Marquette