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Limit sky is the
There are casinos and then there is Horseshoe Casino. This all-new entertainment facility promises to change your perception of Chicagoland casinos. Take a peek inside at this monumental structure. It is the closest casino to Downtown Chicago, a mere 20 minute drive away.
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Oppulent crystal chandeliers illuminate your entrance to the High-Limit Gaming areas. Smoke swirls from the corner of his mouth where a cigarette hangs precariously like a caterpillar suspended on a branch. The carpenter in the photo is sitting on a plastic orange stool that faces the dirt roads of his home in Zhongshan, China. Natural sunlight washes over his wood-handle tools scattered haphazardly over the wooden work table. His hands move over the slab of wood, the chisel swiftly carving elaborate patterns, wood shavings spewing around like confetti at the stroke of midnight. A year after production began in the spring of 2008, the Zhongshan carpenter’s hand-carved intricacies were freighted and gently assembled by union carpenters in Indiana to now adorn the Asian Gaming Area in the Horseshoe Casino just OPPOSITE PAGE: Ornate décor creates an unparalleled atmosphere as you play in the Le Cheng gaming area.
20 minutes from downtown Chicago in Hammond, the latest Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. property to undergo a facelift. “To call it a remodeling is not enough: it’s a whole new facility,” says Stefan Huba, the Vice President of Non-Gaming Operations at Horseshoe. The level of care that went into building each aspect of the new casino — much like the impressive Asian Gaming Area — is truly a reflection of Horseshoe’s commitment to creating a space that feels real. Conceptualized by T. Murao Design Inc. and TM & SK Design Co. and inspired by the historical Chinese Silk Road, visitors at the entrance of the Asian Gaming pit are greeted by the sound of water trickling down a large etched glass window nestled in a classic rosewood-stained cabinet. Entering the Asian Gaming Area is like walking into an Asian-infused wooden wonderland. Inspired by various regions in China, each tile in the grid wood ceiling is decorated with
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dragons and phoenixes in antique gold, representing power and fortune. The pendant light fixtures resemble lamp shades used in Beijing’s Forbidden Palace. Small balconies — made of the same rosewood-stained timber decorating the area — jut out overhead, surrounding the four corners of the room to simulate a second floor. The walls are adorned by several mirrors and intricate lattice hand-carved patterns, brought together by thick, plump columns that trick the eye to believe there’s a continuous ceiling beyond the wall. Reminiscent of a classic Chinese palace’s smoking room, the private and semiprivate rooms offer a plush getaway from the idle chatter surrounding the game tables in the main room, a space where people are largely unaware of anything else but the cards and stakes at hand. Enchanting spaces like the Asian Gaming Area help tell the story of, as Huba puts it, “a journey that started several years ago…that transformed Horseshoe, taking it to the next level.” Harrah’s Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman took the vision to create a $500 million expansion that combined top name entertainment and world-class gambling to build the largest casino and entertainment destination in the Midwest, all within a 20 minute car ride from Chicago. The Freidmutter Group in Las Vegas was responsible for making Huba’s, Horseshoe Regional President and General Manager Rick Mazer’s and Assistant General Manager Kevin Kline’s design dreams a reality. Now, the casino boasts a space six
TOP: Luck abounds as you are graced by Lucky Horsehoes in the High-Limit Slot Room. ABOVE: Authentic décor makes your visit more than just a gaming experience.
times the square footage of a football field. A glimmering view of the Chicago skyline is nuzzled on the lakefront to the West. Unveiled last August, the expansion was a labor of love for many people, including Huba. “It was hectic, exhilarating and amazingly fun,” Huba says in one breath. Huba was part of a dedicated team of people who worked around the clock to open the casino’s doors leading to warm tones of copper, chocolate and Horseshoe gold, elaborate moldings, ornate sconces and hand-plastered walls. Ornate columns reach to the ceilings of the spaciously elegant widestone aisles covered with lush wool carpeting. Oversized vintage photographs provide a glimpse into Las Vegas’ rich and colorful history, while works from artists like Itzchak Tarkay, Max, Alfred Gockel, Anatole Krasnyansky and Linda Le Kinff line the walls. Detailed work, like the handblown glass flowers created by Italian artisans, may be found in the High Limit Table area. “We focused a lot of our energies on the small things,” Huba said. “Many don’t notice them but we can tell you everything down to the wallpaper and the decisions behind it.”
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Jose Zapata, Horseshoe Casino Banquet Chef, has years of culinary experience at places like the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the Union League Club in Chicago.
A distant relative of Emiliano Zapata, Jose Zapata is also a revolutionary, but in the kitchen. Majoring in engineering at Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois, Jose Zapata busted his chops preparing food at the Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park at the age of 19. Like many others who unknowingly start off in the restaurant trenches by working a part-time gig, he too fell prey to the adrenaline highs of the trade. So, Zapata restructured his career path and began taking culinary classes at Kendall College. Naturally, his parents, who were born in Mexico, shook their heads in disapproval when Zapata told them his new dream was to engineer fine, succulent, savory dishes. Unlike in Europe, where being a culinary chef is as prestigious as being a doctor or a lawyer, to Zapata’s parents his newfound profession could only mean one thing — their son was going to die of hunger. “They weren’t happy,” Zapata says with a laugh. “They would say, ‘There’s no money in it. Why do you want to do it?’ And I would respond, ‘Because it makes me happy.’” And happy it’s made him, even though chef Roland Liccioni, currently at Miramar Bistro in Highwood and former chef of Le Francais, humbled and broke him down. “He screamed, he yelled...” recalls Zapata, the Banquet Chef at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. Sitting across the table in the Jack Binion Steakhouse at the Horseshoe, Zapata pauses when he notices the raised eyebrows. “A lot of people don’t understand old school [cuisine],” he explains. “Now, Liccioni is like my daddy and I call him ‘Pa”. Not long after Zapata’s ‘Pa took him under his wing, he intro-
duced Zapata to the “woman” who would become his wife. “My wife is my job. I love what I do,” Zapata says. “So, I say I’m married, married to my job.” If Zapata is married to his job, then the dowry is equivalent to the opportunity to work alongside top French chefs John Jean Banchete and Patrick Schaubert, who influenced Zapata to go on to put his fine dining skills to the test. Zapata represented the United States in the Bocuse D’Or. The contest, which the 5’4” soccer goalie likens to “the World Cup of Cooking,” is one of the most prestigious culinary contests in existence. Out of 20,000 applicants, the top 20 are chosen; then the top 9 applicants from those 20 are picked to represent the United States. In 2000, Zapata competed as Chef Fred Ramos’ assistant and took home sixth place. Three years later, Zapata qualified on his own and says he “came in fifth place in a competition dominated by the French, where you have to serve and arrange enough fish and meat dishes to feed 12 people.” Unlike the Iron Chef, Bocuse D’Or contestants have only five hours to cook — and there is no room for mistakes. With years of cooking experience at places like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the Union League Club in Chicago and other hotels and casinos, the 33 year-old’s parents no longer worry he will go hungry. However, Zapata admits he doesn’t eat entire meals because he usually picks at food when he’s cooking at work. And, since juice and water are the sole occupants of Zapata’s fridge, he rarely cooks at home. Even with all of his training and expertise, there’s one dish Zapata divulges he can’t master: his mother’s arroz. “I try to imitate her Spanish rice, but I still can’t get it and will never understand how to get it right.”
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TEXT “CAFE” TO 427724 TO BE ENTERED IN HORSESHOE’S MONTHLY DRAWING FOR 2 SUITE TICKETS TO AN UPCOMING SHOW AND RECEIVE EXCITING TEXT OFFERS FROM HORSESHOE HAMMOND.*
Not Just a Casino Vintage 51, the wine and crafted beer bar, helps quench your thirst while on break from the slot machines. It also offers live music and drink specials every Wednesday. Push, the casino’s feature bar, is lined with video poker machines and high-definition TVs to catch every game. After sunset, Push delivers pulsating lounge music Fridays and Saturdays. Come by for Hookah Night and smoke a shisha while watching belly dancers move in the smoke Thursday nights. Sparkling Odds Like the glow of a lighthouse looking for its ship, the beacon of light from the all-new Horseshoe Casino calls its patrons. Visitors, especially from Chicago, a mere 20-minute drive away, maneuver their vehicles into a spot in the 2,000 car self-parking facility, or drive up to the front entrance of the casino for valet service. In some cases, they even take one of the free shuttle services departing from Wrigleyville, downtown Chicago and Chinatown. Around the World Among seven restaurants and bars, none is more exquisite than Jack Binion’s Steak House. Its ultimate masterpiece, the Japanese “A-5” Kobe Beef, comes from Wagyu bred cattle rumored to indulge in beer and sake massages. The Village Square Buffet seats 650 people for a dining experience that includes homemade tamales, Peking duck, and manicotti. Foo Noodle Bar serves authentic Asian dishes, while JB’s Café offers gourmet sandwiches and salads.
The Venue Rocks Need another reason to visit Horseshoe Casino? Look no further than The Venue where top-name entertainers from rock to norteña music like Ramón Ayala, Stone Temple Pilots and Smashing Pumpkins take the stage. For more information, visit www.horseshoehammond.com
Horseshoe’s Lucky Numbers 108,000 square feet 97 game tables 3,200 slot machines 300 video poker machines 125 high limit slots 20 chair live Keno area 34 poker tables 2 VIP lounges 7 restaurants and bars 650 seats at the Village Square Buffet 3,000 capacity at The Venue 6 VIP skyboxes 100x odds on craps *Supported carriers include AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Alltell, Sprint Nextel, Boost. Standard messaging charges apply. Other charges may apply. Must be 21 or older to participate in this offer.
$100,000 limit on baccarat
entertainment here is like your imagination. it’s without limits. Visit Horseshoe Casino where the opportunity to win is greater than anywhere else with more than 3,200 slot machines, 100 gaming tables – including our extensive live poker room – and incredible live shows with today’s hottest performers. There’s two incredible bars and four restaurants, featuring the all you can imagine Village Square Buffet, and all within 20 minutes from downtown Chicago. For more information, call us at 866-711-SHOE and find out even more about all of the ways to enjoy yourself at Horseshoe Casino.
gamble 30 minutes, get a free buffet.
Café readers, now receive complimentary entrance into the awe-inspiring Village square buffet when you play 30 minutes at the horseshoe Casino. Visit total rewards and mention offer code “Café” to participate. new & inactive members only.
Where entertainment knoWs no bounds.
www.chicagohorseshoe.com Must be at least 21 years old and present coupon, valid U.S Government issued photo ID and Total Rewards card to buffet for redemption. Valid during available meal periods. Offer is nontransferable and must be redeemed together; no take out orders accepted. Complimentary meals do not include gratuity and alcoholic beverages. Based on seating availability. Not good with any other promotional offer. Horseshoe reserves the right to cancel or modify this promotion at any time with prior notification to IGC. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling problem? Call 1-800-9-With-It. ©2009, Harrah’s License Company, LLC.