Wedding food stations, particularly themed stations, are all the rage, and have been for some time. But with so many choices in both cuisine and presentation — some sensational, some silly — how do you know which ones will really wow your guests and win their hearts (and stomachs)?
We asked five top caterers from Westchester and the Hudson Valley to share their most popular and requested food bars and stations. Check ‘em out:
Southern Comfort Station
The Station: “This station is perfect for couples who share a love for rich and satisfying Southern cuisine. We’ve taken some of the most popular classic dishes and added a contemporary twist to each item to take them to the next level,” says Alison Awerbuch, chef and partner.
The Goods: Cajun fried chicken (served on cornbread waffles with pickled vegetable chow-chow); savory short rib in a jar (barbecued boneless short ribs and carrot/yam mash with a chipotle crumb crust); mac ’n’ cheese cupcakes (cheddar, pimentos, and scallions topped with salsa verde and crispy kale); sweet-potato fries with honey-grain mustard sauce; bayou salad (peaches, candied peanuts, carrots, cabbage, peppers, and peach bourbon vinaigrette); and Southern snacks (house-made BBQ potato chips, baked okra crisps, and caramelized Vidalia onion dip).
Add On/Pare Down: In addition to fried chicken, shrimp étouffée served on corn griddlecakes with creole tomato sauce is offered. Price increase is based on guest count and the other variety of food offered at the event.
What’s to Love: “This station is very popular among our couples because, well, everyone loves comfort food!”
Cost Range for 100 Guests: Included in the price of the wedding menu, which differs for each couple.
Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill Mansion
Tarrytown, 914.631.3030; www.abigailkirsch.com
Hudson Valley Bounty Table
The Station: “This is our most popular stationary appetizer at weddings. It gives guests a fresh and local sampling of all that the Hudson Valley has to offer,” says Jamie Rywalt, catering coordinator.
The Goods: A selection of cured meats and artisanal cheeses; fresh seasonal fruit; dried fruit and house-made spiced nuts; breads and crackers; imported olives; chicken-liver mousse; whole-grain mustard; market-fresh vegetables with olive tapenade and pesto aioli; and red-pepper hummus with toasted pita chips.
Add On/Pare Down: Couples can pare down or add items as they wish.
What’s to Love: “Many parts of this [table] are great for vegan guests!”
Cost Range for 100 Guests: $12-$15 per person
Bridge Creek Catering
New Paltz, 845.255.9234; www.bridgecreekcatering.com
Pamela’s Personalized French Fry Station
The Station: “This station is a fun, interactive vision of old-world style French fry yumminess,” says Pamela R. Resch, owner.
The Goods: Couples can choose from a variety of fries including shoestring, thick-cut, waffle, curly, and even the initials of the couple that are hand-cut from a selection of Idaho potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, polenta, turnips, pickles, green beans, bananas, and apples. Pamela’s also offers a huge variety of toppings such as parmesan cheese, truffle oil, house-made condiments ranging from ketchup to ranch dressing, roasted garlic and rosemary oil, brown gravy, and cinnamon marshmallow fluff.
Add On/Pare Down: Types of fries and toppings can be added or subtracted according to the couple’s wants and their price point.
What’s to Love: All fries are fried on the premises, imparting a heavenly aroma. Additionally, fry baskets and condiment bottles are decorated according to the theme of the wedding.
Cost Range for 100 Guests: $8-$18 per person
Pamela’s Traveling Feast
Newburgh, 845.562.4505; www.pamelasny.com
The Station: Couples can choose a minimum of three stations, each of which serves a different type of cuisine. Stations range from Mediterranean and Thai to Churrascaria and Sushi. Each station offers four choices, served on small plates and spoons, as well as in glasses, according to Nisa Lee, president.
The Goods: Each station includes a vast assortment of decadent dishes, from crispy tacos with sriracha drizzle at the Thai station and ruby-beet salad in a glass with a Champagne vinaigrette topped with queso fresco at the Barcelona station to a variety of grilled and skewered meats, seafood, sausages, and veggies at the Churrascaria, or Brazil, station.
Add On/Pare Down: Couples can add or take away anything they want, and additional charges will apply after the minimum selections have been chosen.
What’s to Love: “Catering multi-cultural weddings has allowed me to create festive, unique stations that can be customized to each couple and their cultural heritage. No matter what stations you choose, you’ll have a very diverse selection,” says Lee.
Cost Range for 100 Guests: $55-$120 per person, depending on the number of stations and amount of food requested.
Nisa Lee Events
North Salem, 914.552.5258; www.nisalee.com
Donut Worry. Be Married.
The Station: “Our amazing custom tabletop art-pieces display our sugary, mouthwatering donuts. Rows upon rows of donut varieties can be customized to your wedding theme and style. Our displays are handmade to give couples the option of spelling out monograms and hashtags,” says Margaret Brower, director of sales.
The Goods: Donuts can be selected from a choice of glazed, iced, frosted, milk-chocolate dream, French krueller, cinnamon sugar, caramel-maple-glazed, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. “The icing can be any color, and then we can add sprinkles, glitter, stripes, or other embellishments.”
Add On/Pare Down: “In lieu of favors, we can supply apple-cider donuts as a to-go favor for $2 per person. We call these options ‘Decadent Departures.’”
What’s to Love: “Guests go crazy over our #donutwall. Seeing something personal spelled out for the couple is unique and memorable.”
Cost Range for 100 Guests: $600
The Grandview Elegant Events
Poughkeepsie, 845.486.4700; www.grandviewevents.com