Each year, the chamber of commerce groups from around Porter County, including the Chesterton/Duneland, Kouts, Hebron, Portage, and Valparaiso organizations, combine forces to host Chamber Network Night highlighting businesses and organizations.
And this year, the event is from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Porter County Expo Center, and area restaurant menus are providing a tasteful emphasis at the Indiana Dunes Tourism's booth area.
"Indiana Dunes Tourism, the official tourism bureau in Porter County, always has a theme for its booth," said Ken Kosky, promotions director for Indiana Dunes Tourism.
"Last year we highlighted the beauty of our nature sites and our art scene. This year we are promoting the great dining throughout Indiana Dunes Country that draws people from all around. We will hand out our activities guides, which list and give descriptions of all our restaurants."
Kosky said that at this year's chamber event, his organization will also be highlighting the 17 area restaurants Midwest Living recently included on its "Foodie Trail."
Some of those highlighted Porter County restaurants include dish, Popolano's, Valley, Don Quijote, Wagner's, Bartlett's, Bistro 157, Meditrina Market Cafe, Strongbow, Lucrezia, Blackbird, Fuji, Octave Grill, Sage, Tonya's Patisserie, Third Coast Spice Cafe and Industrial Revolution.
Admission is free for the Chamber Network Night and you must be 21 or older to attend.
The event also allows area businesses, including restaurants, to showcase hidden highlights that customers may not be aware of as options.
Don Quijote Restaurant, for example, also offers a Spanish imports retail shop at the dining location at 121 Lincolnway, in Valparaiso. Located just next door to the restaurant, the eclectic Spanish import shop offers an extensive array of products from Spain.
In addition to gift items such as beautiful ceramics from Talavera, gold damascene jewelry and handicrafts from Toledo, and colorful, elegant fans from all over Spain, the shop also carries items for the kitchen to duplicate delicious Spanish dishes in your own home.
There are cookbooks, traditional paella pans, saffron, spicy Spanish sausages, fragrant olive oils and vinegars, mild to pungent cheeses, numerous varieties of olives and an excellent selection of the best Spanish wines and cavas, aka Spanish champagne.
Kurt Gillins, the Valpo Chamber programs director, said there are a variety of other businesses for guests to discover at the event, besides restaurants.
From non-profits and hospitals to banks and retail, Gillins said there are more than 140 booths assigned so far.
Here's how Gillins describes the event: "Discover solutions to your business needs, connect with potential customers and meet the people behind Porter County's thriving business community, face to face. Exhibitors will introduce their newest and greatest products and services. Chamber Network Night is the premier business-to-business networking event of the year dedicated to generating high-quality leads, learning from the brightest, and networking with the best."