Small Market Meetings
APPLETON, Wis. — One of the Fox Valley's premier meeting sites has scored big with a new franchise affiliation, a $6 million renovation and a restaurant where customers can line up to dine like linebackers.
For Green Bay Packer fans, the most exciting change at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel is the opening of Vince Lombardi’s Steakhouse, a bonanza for lovers of football and food.
In the last two years, the Appleton hotel has spent more than $6 million to remake itself. The project included a $1 million renovation of its Grand Ballroom and the opening of the steakhouse, a restaurant packed with 400 items once owned by the adored Green Backers coach.
The hotel's transformation attracted the attention of Radisson Hotels, which, in December, announced that the Paper Valley would become its largest Wisconsin franchise.
In addition to the ballroom, the hotel has renovated 300 of its 390 guest rooms, most of its lobby and all of its meeting rooms. The remaining guest rooms will be renovated this year.
The hotel is managed by Montclair Hotel Investors.
Four months after its opening, the 130 seat Lombardi's Steakhouse has become exceedingly popular. Lombardi's son and daughter are partners in the enterprise. They dug through their attics to find much of the memorabilia displayed there, from family photography to Lombardi's trademark sunglasses.
Just 30 minutes from the Packers stadium, Lambeau Field, the Paper Valley often plays host to the Packer's opponents.
"You don’t have to be a Packers fan to appreciate Lombardi or the specialness of this place," said David Sullivan, a Chicago businessman who stays at the hotel when in town for meetings.
Big steaks - the ultimate is a 30-ounce porterhouse for $38 — and big desserts are the restaurant"s trademarks. Its strawberry shortcake stands a foot tall.
The Lombardi's said they would not have become involved in the project unless it paid proper tribute to their father.
"Nothing can enhance my father's reputation, but many projects, if not done well, could detract from it," said Vince Lombardi Jr. "We said yes to this one because we know the hotel well, and it is an excellent business."
For more information, call 920-733-8000, or visit www.radisson.com.
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