Usually when we write about bars, we’re referring to the cocktail variety. But in this article, Messina’s Catering and Events will talk about some of our favorite catering event food bars, and food stations. A food bar is a display that matches a certain theme of food for guests to choose from, and often customize. And we all know that guests like to be able to move around and mingle during weddings and events, so bars provide an avenue for that! Food bars can be used as meal courses such as appetizers, desserts or late-night snacks, or can be made heavy to work as a main course.
A fast for the eyes as well as the palette! Candy is nostalgic, colorful and loved by all. Create a candy bar by choosing various candies in different colors (that complement the color palette of the event) and artfully displaying them in glass containers of different shapes and sizes. Then provide scoops and tongs for guests to fill their small bags with their favorites. A candy bar adds some colorful, edible décor to any catering event.
Offer guests a beautiful display of chilled lobster, crab, shrimp, clams or oysters. Provide all the necessary accoutrement such as lemon wedges, drawn butter, cocktail sauce, mustard sauce, and hand wipes. Shellfish can be a budget buster, so focus on seasonal/favorite options. Don’t feel as though you need to provide all options for guests to enjoy! Make no mistake, this will be one of the most popular bars at your event!
Salsa/Hot Sauce Bar
People love to try different salsas and hot sauces. So, if your menu calls for it, provide them with options to try! Provide options from mild to smoky to red hot, with creative descriptions of each. Provide small cups for guests to try a little of this and a little of that with their tacos or chips.
Create an array of homemade sausages paired with spreads, chutney, crostini, vegetables, dried fruit, pickles and nuts. Specialty sausages could include alligator sausage, Tasso sausage, and spicy Cajun sausage. Guests will love the unique combinations!
This can be done one of two ways. Traditional popcorn can be provided in signature boxes and different gourmet salts and shaker seasonings provided for guests to shake on. Or, you can create various popcorn varieties and provide small containers for guests to try a little of this and a little of that. Examples of pre-made popcorn varieties include caramel corn, kettle corn, chocolate covered popcorn, jalapeno cheddar, etc. Be sure to work with your caterer to create themed paper cups or bags that complement the event’s décor and theme. It’s simple, and fun!
Mac n Cheese Bar
We’ve all seen baked potato bars, but how about a different starchy base like mac n cheese? Provide guests with savory spices such as scallions, bacon bits, fried onions, breadcrumbs, jalapenos, ham, lobster and broccoli to add customer flavor.
Take chips and dip up a level, and provide various grilled and toasted breads and crackers. Pair these with various cheeses, spreads and pickles to allow guests to try different options.
The options are totally limitless when it comes to make your own food bars. Guests love the idea of being able to customize their cuisine, and they make for beautiful visual displays. The more fun you have with the theme, the more fun your guests will have!
Event planners should have a caterer they can work with to create not just delicious food, but also beautiful displays for each food bar. The food bars should complement the overall event décor and theme. After all, we still eat first with our eyes!
Messina’s Catering and Events is celebrating 58 years of catering in the New Orleans area. We were just selected by New Orleans CityBusiness readers as one of the Best Caterers for the 3rd year in a row. We specialize in bringing our client’s creative visions to reality! Check out some of our other articles related to catering creativity including Creative Vegetarian Catering Menu Options, Catering Menu Bar Trends, and Catering and Event Food Trends.