What’s new and remarkable in the restoration of the twin cities?
Look, it’s 2022! We can throw our preconceptions about restoration out the window. Goodbye rubbery chicken! See you soon, soft green beans and vanilla dry cake! Local caterers of all sizes are leaving behind set, structured menus for apps, main courses, cocktails and desserts that allow hosts to show their guests who they really are. If they like old-fashioned food, they might want to offer a high-end whiskey bar from A’BriTin. If the pie is more their jam than the cake? Mintahoe can whip up a hundred hand pies in whatever flavor you want. The current trend: Everything is personalized, all the time.
“There are a lot of people inquiring about events,” says Meghan Larsen, director of sales and events at Chowgirls Catering in northeast Minneapolis. “We’re seeing at least a 75% increase in inquiries in our busiest year, 2019. But what I’ve noticed is people want to be really intentional about how they get reunite, who they reunite with and what it looks like.”
But what does this intentional service of food, drink and catering at events mean now? What happens in these interactive stations? And what are we sipping at the bar? We asked the experts to see what they are planning and booking for 2022 and beyond.
CATERING AND EVENTS IN MINTAHOE
Of course, you can still serve a buffet or plated dinner through Mintahoe at its seven exclusive locations (and many other off-site options) — or they can create a custom catering hall of dinner and dessert stations. “Stations get people moving and people talking to each other,” says Suzi McMerty Shands, co-president of Mintahoe. “You’re not stuck at a table for a few hours and you can try something new and fun.”
Don’t fancy a sit-down meal at all? Mintahoe can set up a few stations throughout the venue for the bulk of the reception and allow guests to grab bites whenever they want, wherever they want. “You could have a street taco station, a mashed potato and martini station, Chicago-style hot dogs, all set up here and there,” says McMerty Shands.
For something a little more traditional, but still original, Mintahoe can also add a station to a plated or buffet dinner. “In the past, couples would say, ‘OK, I want this chicken and I want this vegan meal,’ no matter what, but now people are really trying to make their food more individual and more unique to them- same,” says McMerty Shands. . mintahoe.com
With 10 signature venues and countless offsite venues, D’Amico is one of the biggest names in dining in the Twin Cities, but that doesn’t mean every wedding is alike, or even alike. Creativity reigns supreme at D’Amico, and its chefs are ready to whip up dining options that match any couple’s theme and personality, from fully personalized menus to transformative interactive stations and playful dessert offerings.
“We recently had a fun wedding where the couple really hated cake, but they wanted that cake look and that cake cutting moment,” says Christie Altendorf, director of marketing and senior event planner at D’Amico. “So we created a chocolate chip cookie cake for them that was 12 layers tall and six inches in diameter, and it was one layer of cookies/frosting/cookie/frosting in a two-tier ‘cake’ , and people could have cookie slices.”
D’Amico staff also make sure to stock the bar with the couple’s favorite local beers and spirits, and planners always ask couples which establishments they’d like to share with their guests. “We see a lot of couples trying to support the places they support in their daily lives,” Altendorf says. This could mean a draft beer from their favorite trivia party venue or a spirit from the distillery where they had their first date – anything that can tell their guests a story through sips, adding an element daytime privacy. damicocatering.com
CATERING BY KOWALSKI’S
Whether couples are planning an intimate night out at their favorite park or a 300-person party at an event center, Kowalski’s will bring the heat, the barbecue, the wild rice balls and all the bar, of course. “What’s really important right now is the bar,” says Roxanne Kielbasa, Kowalski’s catering director. “Craft cocktails, dry ice, smoke and bubbles. People want a unique bar experience. And Kowalski’s is happy to oblige, giving couples options to create custom, specialty cocktails to complement any event’s bar service.
As for which couples go with the drinks? Kielbasa says she’s booked more weddings and parties that exclusively serve heavy apps, not a full sit-down dinner. “That’s it,” she said. “It’s all that is picked, skewered or canned. Individual deli boxes are very popular; you can hold them in one hand and a cocktail in the other.
This allows customers to focus on the people around them, not just sitting down to eat a big meal. “Couples have re-evaluated what’s really important,” Kielbasa says. “It comes down to family, friends, good food and cocktails. They want to have a more intimate experience and be able to talk and mingle with everyone. ”kowalskis.com
Couples and guests love Les Chowgirls for the team’s local, sustainable dishes that reflect individuality. “We don’t have a standard buffet menu,” says Lindsay Erstad, Chowgirls Sales and Events Team Manager. “Instead, we talk to a couple and make sure they get their favorite foods because it’s their day and they can have whatever they want.”
And what they want, more than ever, is a local and sustainable element for both food and drink. “It was obviously a growing trend pre-COVID, but everyone wanted to see businesses survive the pandemic, and we have even more couples coming to see us genuinely interested in where their food comes from and making sure we support locals,” Meghan Larsen, Sales and Events Director at Chowgirls, says. “It’s something Chowgirls has been doing since the beginning.”
Chowgirls sources beer from Twin Cities breweries and wine that is organic, biodynamic, or from women-owned vineyards, and sources produce and ingredients from organic or Minnesota farms and vendors whenever possible. Food scraps that can’t be saved are composted, but food scraps (if hosts don’t want the scraps, that is) are donated to Minnesota Central Kitchen, making the day meaningful for more than the couple. chowgirls.net
CATERING AND HOSPITALITY A’BRITIN
With multiple catering businesses under one umbrella (and 16 exclusive venues and dozens of Preferred Venue Partners), A’BriTin can help just about any couple find what they’re looking for, like options from farm-to-table with Apples 2 Apples, elegant plated dinners with Distinctive Catering and barbecue fun with This Little Piggy. But one thing that all brands and locations have in common? Menus are customizable and presentation is key, whether food rolls out of an interactive station or heads to an intricately laid table.
“Each season, we review our menus and revamp, refresh, add new items, or totally redo them,” says Jordan Feist, A’BriTin’s vice president of business development. “So not only are we trying something new; we also create an experience out of everything we serve. If we just put the food on a hot plate, it won’t work.
These experiences range from “build your own waffle on a stick” tables to full pork roasts or constantly filled champagne walls. Additionally, A’BriTin can serve local beer, wine and signature organic cocktails from its five rental bar trailers (Hitch and Sip), which add elements of surprise and whimsy to any outdoor event. air.
“Restoration is a completely different scheme than it was,” Feist says. “If your food and drinks aren’t as good as you’d find in a restaurant, you can’t compete in our market.” abritincatering.com