Travel Waterloo

Travel Waterloo: Episode 16 Recap


posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Aaron & JodiThe Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo is a major attraction in Waterloo, offering gaming, three restaurants, entertainment and great hotel rooms. While you may already know that, or may be able to find that out with a quick Google search, we wanted to show you a slightly different side of the Isle this week.

No matter where you’re from, the Isle experience is a fun, friendly experience that starts with almost 600 awesome employees. From housekeepers to slot machine attendants and from servers to management, the Isle boasts a staff that puts the guest experience first and foremost in everything they do. That can sometimes be easier said than done, too, but the people you’ll encounter during a visit to the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo walk that walk during every shift.

FoodThe Farmer’s Pick Buffet, where we had the opportunity to interview Executive Chef Henry Rodriguez, has been recognized company-wide as having the friendliest staff. When you’re ordering your omelet during the weekend breakfast buffet, the cooks are going to put on a show and engage you in conversation. The baker is going to ring the bell and call out “hot, fresh cookies” with a huge grin on their face. Henry told us that it is critical for every member of the restaurant team to know their guests as well as possible so they can offer the guests what they’re looking for.

Aaron & HenryOne thing that makes the Isle stand out over other casinos and even other local restaurants is their commitment to buying local. Some of the produce used in the three restaurants at the Isle is purchased from a farmer literally across the street. Food is donated to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank on a daily basis, and doing as much business as possible locally is key, both in the restaurants and throughout the entire facility.

The Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo hosts entertainment and events throughout the year. Those events range from a DJ on the casino floor to free outdoor concerts like tonight’s (August 27) show by The Spazmatics, an 80’s cover band. Tonight’s show starts at 8pm, with gates opening at 7:30pm. And, don't forget to bring a lawn chair!

In the meantime, a few recommendations for your next visit:

  • The BBQ chicken pizza at the Lone Wolf is amazing! Pair it with one of their new shakes – the Arctic Wolf is Chef Henry’s recommendation – and you’ll have a great meal.
  • The Simply Yummy Bakery is AWESOME! Save room for dessert. Or, order some in advance to take home with you. The cakes, pies and pastries like we showed in this week’s episode are all homemade and all spectacular.
  • Chef Henry suggested that taking smaller portions of more items at the buffet is the proper approach. That way you can indulge, experience all of the great options, and not feel like you’re getting too full.
  • Jodi told me that they have customers comment about the beds in the hotel quite often. She said that many people have said they’re as comfortable as any bed they’ve ever slept in, and want to know how to get their own. I’ve heard the same from friends who have stayed there, and can say from experience that I’d concur.

Aaron & ChrisWe’ll be talking more with Isle staff in a future episode to showcase some little-known facts about the casino, hotel and restaurants. Ever wonder what the biggest hotel room in Waterloo looks like? We’ll show you! Beyond donations of food, how does the Isle give back to the community? We’ll tell you. Stay tuned for that episode this Fall.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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