When veteran marketers Pete Lachapelle and Bill Oakley were teamed by Emerald Expositions they were asked to “top this.” For two decades plus, the Lachappelle/Oakley duo had been the driving force behind the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Emerald was convinced that an East Coast edition of the show couldn’t miss. As Oakley surveyed the opportunities, he saw a statistical and demographic profile that pointed to a glaring need. The Metro New York and Mid-lantic regions clearly were the center of the pizza universe.
“The Northeast has more pizzerias and Italian restaurants than any other region in the U.S.,” Oakley explained. “That’s not to mention that Atlantic City is within a few hours drive of one-third of America’s population: approximately 100 miles from New York; less than 300 miles from Boston; fewer than 100 miles from Philadelphia; and 150 miles from Washington, D.C.”
Armed with that info, the Louisville based executives created the Pizza & Pasta Northeast Expo. “We love the excitement that Atlantic City brings as a venue,” Oakley continued. “There is always something new that makes the trip worthwhile for show attendees and exhibitors. This year we are thrilled to add the newly opened Ocean Resort to our host hotels.”
The pizza industry in the Northeast is booming. Regional chains including Blaze Pizza and Mod Pizza are rapidly growing their footprint from the nation’s capital into New York. Last year, Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer launched what many feel could be the next multi-unit concept: Pizzeria Martina.
With that growth in mind, International Pizza Expo®, the largest pizzeria business-to-business trade show in the world, will again take center stage with the second edition of its two-day trade show that focuses on pizzerias and Italian restaurants. The 2018 Pizza & Pasta Northeast® show will incorporate a blend of food demonstrations, contests and educational sessions to augment an exhibit hall showcasing top suppliers for both of these strong foodservice segments.
Under the guidance of seasoned show manager Bill Oakley, the pizza & pasta event brings a long and distinguished track record of success from its Las Vegas roots. Now in its 34th Year of serving Independent and Chain Pizzerias, attendees at the ‘Vegas event include pizzeria or pizza-concept restaurant owners, operators and managers, as well as distributors and food brokers.
Exhibitors in New Jersey will include suppliers of pizza ingredients and pizza flour, point-of-sales systems, ovens, kitchen equipment, marketing and promotional materials and many other companies providing goods and services to the pizza restaurant industry.
“Our show is a must see for the pizza and hospitality operator,” Oakley noted. “Today’s consumers and pizza aficionados have many styles from which to choose. From Pizza Napoletana to Roman, which is currently expanding across the U.S. Our goal is to bring prep insight to the foodservice professional that want to add diversity to their menu.”
The 2018 Pizza & Pasta Northeast show will be held October 3rd and 4th 2018, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, NJ, just 10 minutes from Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, and just an hour drive from the Philadelphia International Airport. Atlantic City was chosen for several reasons, including its central location on the East Coast, access to the largest concentration of pizzerias and Italian restaurants in the U.S., a top-notch convention center and affordable first-class hotel and dining options.
The 2018 Pizza & Pasta Northeast show will deliver a one-stop shop exhibit hall where Italian and pizza-concept restaurant owners can meet face-to-face with leading national and regional industry suppliers. Attendees will also have access to food demonstrations that will focus on new and traditional, Italian ingredients, flavors and products – allowing attendees to stay on top of the consumers’ growing desire for pizza and pasta menu items.
The education program will spotlight current menu trends, as well as top-level business and marketing education sessions. This year’ show features a star studded lineup that includes Frank Pinello, host of Viceland’s The Pizza Show and owner of Best Pizza in Williamsburg, NY, and Anthony Falco, former Pizza Czar at famed Roberta’s and current International Pizza Consultant.
Pizza & Pasta Northeast organizers are looking to integrate a strong pasta component as part of the experience for both Italian restaurateurs and pizzeria owners and operators. “We also have a special session featuring legendary chef Anthony Magieri of Una Pizza Napoletana and Peter Reinhart, instructor at Johnson & Wales University, founder of the Pizza Quest video and blog site, American Baker and Author,” Oakley added. In addition, Scott Wiener will moderate a panel discussion: The Next Wave of American Pizza. He’ll sit down with young guns Anthony Falco, Matt Hyland (Pizza Loves Emily, Brooklyn and West Village) and Justin Bazdarich (Speedy Romeo, Brooklyn).
“No tradeshow would be the same without a few top-notch, world-class competitions,” said Pete Lachapelle, Vice President and Publisher of Pizza Expo and Pizza Today magazine. “We’ll be on a quest to find the perfect combination of pasta, sauce and other ingredients that sets a signature pasta dish apart from the rest of the competition. Our newest cook-off will pit 20 of the world’s best pasta perfectionists against each other to find who’s the ‘Best of the Northeast.’ And as most everyone knows, pizza in this country was born in the Northeast, so we’re proud to announce our partnership with Antimo Caputo and Orlando Foods to hold the annual U.S. ‘Caputo Cup’ competition at our Northeast show. At the third annual U.S. competition, contestants will be invited to compete in two categories: Traditional Neapolitan and New York Style.”
The New England region combined with Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. is home to more than 28,000 Italian restaurants and pizzerias, making this region No. 1 in the U.S. in terms of the total number of pizzerias and Italian restaurants. This means one-third of the country’s operators, generating 30 percent of the industry’s revenue, are located in one tightly condensed geographic area.
“This is in no way a replacement to Pizza Expo for East Coast pizzeria operators and their staffs, but more of an opportunity to let them be a part of this regional two-day experience,” said Oakley. “Most of our eastern U.S. attendees have two days of travel in order to attend the Expo, making it difficult to attend the entire four-day show, which would keep them from their pizzeria for an entire week. This event is a natural progression and one that we hope will allow more restaurateurs and pizzeria operators the opportunity to experience some of the things they have been missing for years are now at the International Pizza Expo. Adding some new twists to this new event should make it a very compelling event to attend.”