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catering recommendation for Mpls/St. Paul?

We're thinking of a catered outdoor party for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. At this point it could go any direction from more sophisticated (but still outdoor) to a pig roast. Since I live in Atlanta now, I haven't a clue who might be a good caterer up there. The event would be at my sister's in Eden Prairie.

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  1. People seem to really respect Chowgirls for catering. I have no experience with them as a planner, but my wife is in the wedding industry (no connection to Chowgirls) so I tend to absorb a lot of chatter and knowledge about what's good.

    http://www.chowgirls.net/

    1. I'll put a plug in for Solo by Bonicelli. Good food, lots of locally sourced ingredients, and she has excellent suggestions and dishes to fit any style.

      http://www.solobybonicelli.com/

      1. I haven't quite - yet - worked with Chowgirls, but I liked my initial contact with them. I had a small party (20-25) last summer, and my budget was too low for Chowgirls. The cheapest they could do, including tax and a required gratuity, was about $75/person without serving staff on-site. The food would have been awesome, though. I love their menu selections and the fact that they use local and organic when possible.

        P.S. For my little party-on-the-cheap, I eventually went to Holy Land for Middle Eastern food, which was appropriately wonderful given our much lower price point (under $20/person, including a birthday cake from somewhere else, but no delivery charges - I picked everything up myself). Luckily, my guests were fine with aluminum vats of food and plastic serving spoons. I love my super-casual family. :-)

        1. Another source to check on is Taste Bud, aka Molly from Kitchen in the Market in Midtown Global Market. She is also a good bud with Steph Meyer from MSP Mag.

          http://www.tastebudtart.com/

          She has a really good sense of taste and an great eye for making her food look good too!

          1. I think you can hire many (if not all) of the food trucks to cater, too, and they'd work well for an outdoor event. Some of my faves (though admittedly I haven't tried a whole lot of them) are Sassy Spoon and Chef Shack. Other, more knowledgeable people please chime in. . .

            3 Replies
            1. re: diesel

              Yep - food trucks were going to be my suggestion too. Gastrotruck I know does catering and they have excellent chow! And if you want something fun and sweet - Marie Antoinette's Crepes! She's done for the season and I already have withdrawals.

              1. re: Seige

                For people who suggest food trucks -- how do you all envision this working? I was standing in front of the Fitzgerald Theatre last weekend while a single food truck waited on customers ... one at a time ... and could not quite envision the logistics.

                Or, rather than made-to-order on the spot, were you thinking the vendor would make all the dishes ahead and simply serve it from the truck?

                People do get excited about the creativity & variety of having food trucks at their wedding reception; etc.. How do you make it work so Great-Aunt Delia doesn't fall out of her dress pumps waiting in line for empanadas?

                1. re: KTFoley

                  It works fine for a fairly unstructured event. . . Where people aren't all trying to eat at the same time.

            2. I had a great experience with D'Amico's catering. Menu was quite varied (not just Italian) and I had rave reviews.

              1. Brasa caters, they have delicious food. Chowgirls is really good also. Surdyks is another option.

                1 Reply
                1. re: meljohns

                  I have used Brasa for a work lunch event for about 50 people and it was great. They were very easy to work with and the food was great. Everyone loved having something different and good.

                2. If you go for the pig roast option you should look into Nelson's meats in Hopkins. They can set you up with a roast pig and plenty of sides.

                  1. WOW. These are all great suggestions. Please keep posting!!! I appreciate all the help.

                    1. I highly recommend Create catering. They are the msot expesnive local caterer I've worked with, but if your budget allows they are totally worth it. In my experience, they took the time to really listen to what I wanted and created a menu that met that perfectly. Aside from Create, I'd also recommend D'Amico and Chowgirls. Barrio also does catering if you are looking for a more latin feel (alhtough I have no experience working with them.) I have also heard good things about Fabulous Catering but have no personal experience.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mnplsfoodelitist

                        I don't think it's been mentioned yet, but when are you having said party? I'm assuming it won't be until the warmer months.

                      2. I would recommend Cossetta's in St. Paul. They are FANTASTIC! Also, more reasonably priced then most catering places I've looked at.

                        1. I had a bad experience with ChowGirls. They were all joy and light at the tasting....but at the actual wedding reception (for 125)...the "heavy hors d'oeuvres" came out so slow that everyone was milling around searching for food. Once they opened the buffet (which was supposed supplement the passed appetizers), people lined up till the line wound around the room. Embarrassing. People were hungry.

                          Afterward, not a peep from Chowgirls, accept an email to ask us to recommend them to Angies List.