Countdown To Microsoft Ignite: The One That Kicks It Off

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We're excited to kick off the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, with hosts Joey Snow and Rick Claus! In the first of 14 episodes, Joey and Rick introduce this unprecedented event, and take you on a quick food tour of Chicago—highlighting a few classic eateries that will have you hungry (and thirsty!) for more.

In the weeks to come, you'll hear more about things to do and eat in Chi-town, as well as everything you need to know about Microsoft Ignite. From the Session Catalog to networking and community resources, Microsoft Certification, the Expo Hall, parties, and more, the Countdown Show will focus on helping you get the most out of your experience at Ignite.

So sit back, relax, and watch as Joey and Rick enjoy some "must-eat" Chicago classics. Then register for Ignite, so you can have your own deep dish Gino's East pizza. If you just can't wait, they'll ship one to you!

Gino's East Pizza

There's a reason why this is first on the list. You must experience a real deep dish Chicago pizza. We won't get involved in the pizza wars, but Gino's East is a great place to start. Each enormous pie is hand made with fresh ingredients. The menu offers plenty of other great choices, but you won't have room for them after the pizza. Established in 1966, Gino's East is a classic you won't want to miss. Parties of 15 or more need a reservation. Want a preview? You can order one shipped to you anywhere in the country.

Portillo's Hot Dogs

Now for the next classic: hot dogs. But not just any hot dogs. Check out Portillo's Hot Dogs for some of the best Chicago has to offer, including chili cheese dogs, char-grilled polish dogs, and beef and sausage sandwiches (dipped in gravy, no less). Portillo's has locations in several states now, but it all started in Chicago in 1963 when Dick Portillo opened his first stand.

CH Distillery

Craft cocktails, small plates, and a sleek, modern atmosphere give CH Distillery and Cocktail Bar a place at the top of our list. Spirits made farm-to-table with locally grown wheat and rye include CH Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey, Aquavit, Amaro and Handmade Limoncello—which are artfully mixed with fresh seasonal juices and house-made syrups to create an array of delicious cocktails. Open Tuesday through Saturday. They also host private events for up to 60 people.

The Berghoff Restaurant

This fourth generation establishment holds the oldest liquor license in Chicago, license #1. German immigrant Herman Berghoff opened The Berghoff in 1898 as a men-only saloon. In 1969 Gloria Steinem marched in with the National Organization for Women and demanded service, finally ending the segregation. This is the place for brats, pierogies, schnitzel, and apple strudel, but they also offer updated, lighter entrees, appetizers, and salads. Along with their classic German fare, The Berghoff serves up their own lager, hefe weizen, pale ale, dark, amber and seasonal beers, plus a selection of Berghoff sodas. Prost!

Watch for upcoming episodes with more tips on things to do and places to eat and drink in Chicago!

Have you registered? Microsoft Ignite is May 4–8 in Chicago at McCormick Place. Register today. 



The Discussion

  • User profile image

    Hi Guys,


    Since I am not well enough to attend the events, I do love the virtual Tours, PreShows and Conference Videos as well. For the last 2 years or so I watch them all day and D/L many as well. You a both terrific Tour Guides and well as CH 9 Stage Host and I do really appreciate all you do and the joy you both bring me individually and TOGETHER!!! There are also others that I really enjoy and appreciate, to name a few, the 2 Marks M&R, the 2 Scotts', Paula, etc.. IT, Data Processing, and Programming on Mainframes was my work background in the '70s, so Thank You for facilitating and teaching me so much with a GREAT sense of humor!!!! in the 21st Century :D


    Best Regards,



  • User profile image
    Jack Smith

    Always love the advice on great places to get food and drink! Would be great to also get some advice on navigating the city. Rent a bike, call a cab or hop on the Chicago Water Taxi...

    Any idea when the Session Builder will be ready to rock? Also would be nice to level set the different passes available for purchase - Plus Pass, Plus Pass Chicago, Plus Pass Limited Edition. What if I want to be just an Alumni with no plus pass; does that mean I get the man cave to share with a hundred others coming in from the melting pot of other conference alumni members...

  • User profile image

    @Jack Smith: Stay tuned for updates to both the session catalog and schedule builder.  We're at a little over 50% of sessions posted and there's more to come. Same goes for details on lounges. Thanks!

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