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Jan 24, 2009 10:49 AM

Catered Mexican Food?

I'm getting married in Chicago in September and we really want to have Mexican food at the wedding. We would like to stay away from catering companies and instead have a really great Mexican restaurant cater the wedding. There's so much great Mexican food in the city I would think it wouldn't be a problem. We love the food at Maiz in Humboldt Park and would love something along those lines. Any recommendations?

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  1. In my experience planning large events, I have learned that you need to be very careful when asking a restaurant to do a caterer's job. There's a very different level of planning expertise and skills to be able to serve food to 50-500 guests at exactly the same! Furthermore, caterers know all the questions to ask, about everything from budget, to how to set up all the tables, chairs, linens, serving, on-site warming/cooking equipment, etc. SOME restaurants have catering experience and can pull off a flawless event; OTHERS do not (and those that have never done so often don't realize that they may be in the latter category). What you don't want to be is the guinea pig for a restaurant that doesn't already have a lot of catering experience, and find out they didn't realize it would take them two hours to prepare and serve a menu item to a large number of people that only takes 10-15 minutes in the small numbers they're accustomed to. (Been there, done that, swore we'd never do that again!)

    So my strong recommendation is that you go with either an experienced caterer, or with a restaurant that has a lot of previous catering experience. (And I'm sure our large Mexican community has plenty of both, who can provide you with great food as part of their services.) Furthermore, it's essential that you check references for their previous catering experience and ask how everything went, so you can be sure that they are able to pull off an event your size without any hitches. Remember, it's nice if your guests comment about the food being good, but it's absolutely disastrous if their strongest memory was how everyone was waiting so long for the caterer to prepare the food, or how they ran out of food, or how the food was cold when it was served, etc.