Wedding in Yosemite- Food recs?
Hello there, fellow chowhounds:
I am thinking about a having a small wedding in Yosemite and am wondering if there are good restaurants in the area that either can host a reception or cater one. It would be a very small and simple reception, so i would love it if the food was simple, but delicious. Any recs would be greatly appreciated!
If you want good food in Yosemite the only thing I can think of is to contact the Awahanee hotel, The food there is excellent.
There is great food off Hwy 120 on the eastern entrance. Whoa Nellie Deli - weird name, amazing food. Could you rent a facility in the park and arrange for outside catering? Their website appears to be under construction - it's a different layout than just a couple months ago, so they must be in the process, but it appears there will be a catering link at some point:
You will have to ask when you call, but based on what I know about how Yosemite works I would most seriously doubt if they would consider letting you hire an outside caterer. And, even if they would do so it might not be that inexpensive: most places in Yosemite are fairly far to bring prepared food, and since you can bet that Delaware North (the park concessionare) will not let the caterer cook in their kitchens on site, the caterer would have to ship in the food a long distance even if it were allowed. Who Nellie Deli, for example, is over an hour drive from the Yosmite Lodge in the Valley (and further than that from Wawona), and that is assuming that you are planning a summer wedding since the road is typically only open from Memorial Day until sometime in mid-October...
bennyboys suggestion to try Wawona and see if they would do a bbq for you is a good one. Probably your best bet. But they will want to do the catering themselves and it won't be cheap.
As for Tuolumne Lodge, it is only open from about Memorial Day to September 19th, is composed of one smalllish lodge building and a bunch of tent cabins, and is booked pretty much solid all summer. There is no reason they would have any incentive to let you bring in outside catering, and no place to put you if you did do so. (even if your group is small. Of course, If by small you mean ten persons, you could probably get a table or two in the lodge at Tuolumne and eat whatever is on the menu for dinner that night, along with all the other guests. Your guests would then have the choice of sleeping in very rustic tent cabins or a drive of at least thirty to forty minutes over mountain roads to the closest motel.)
What I would do if you know you really want a Yosemite wedding, would be first of all to take a trip up there and scout it out. I am wondering if you are really that familiar with the size and scope of Yosemite? After doing that, if you are still sold on the idea of getting married there, I'd recommend you either go with Wawona or go all out at the Awahnee Hotel (but you will have to use them to cater and it will be expensive), or rent a private house in Yosemite and self cater. (for a group of no more than around twenty). There are private vacation homes for rent in Yosemite. The nicest (IMO) are in Foresta; google that or Yosemite West. Note however ho that some may specifically prohibit weddings and other groups.
Since you mention that it's very small, if you get married on a Sunday you could have the Ahwahnee's brunch as your reception. I'd imagine they'd even set up a special table for you.
Otherwise, try the Wawona. We had friends get married on the banks of the north side of the Merced River a few years ago with the reception held on the school grounds, catered by a couple of great ladies out of Oakhurst, iirc. Excellent food, but it was a large event and the effort of setting up outdoor tents, etc, was a major PITA, very labor intensive.
Your best, inexpensive option would be friends bringing up a few grills and ice chests. I've seen it done VERY well at other parks. A few cases of shrimp, some steaks and veggies and you've got a nice, easy to make meal. Drag up a keg or two, a case or two of wine and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. It's a pain in the butt for the wedding, but it'll be tons cheaper than trying to use the facilities at the park itself.