The Chicago Party Planning Guide
Pulling together the right event mix—whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, or a party for no real reason at all—is all about a certain special sauce. Great food and drinks, spot-on music, maybe a few extra shenanigans and flowers for fun, plus a great photographer to capture it all. Below, our Chicago Rolodex of great vendors.
The founder of Brix Catering was a sommelier before he broke off to start his own catering business, which means the bar and the wine pairings here can always hold their own against the well-crafted menus. Scale wise, they'll do everything from a few charcuterie plates to a multi-course, formal dining experience. If your event doesn't call for staffed catering, you can pick up one of their "Brix boxes" a day in advance and throw everything in the oven before your guests arrive (we’ve heard that their Thanksgiving boxes can rival even the best home-made spreads).
Truffleberry Market Catering630.301.2669
With a client list that includes Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, you can be sure that Truffleberry Market has been properly vetted. Their events are known for adventurous menus and presentation, with dishes like mini lobster corn dogs, cucumber sandwiches wrapped in a delicate bow, and goat cheese cones. The team here is always up for a challenge, making them a great option if you have an ambitious theme.
Magnolia Bakery Chicago108 N. State St. at Block 37, The Loop | 312.346.7777
They’re obviously famous for their cupcakes, but Magnolia also puts that amazing buttercream to good use on wedding cakes. Their bakers are especially adept at creating beautiful textures on their layered cakes, creating soft, flower petal effects and even taking on the challenge of ombré frosting. In addition to the New York original, they now have locations in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Feast & Imbibe847.491.9744
For oenophiles looking to elevate an event’s drinking situation above a well drink open bar, Feast & Imbibe will actually pair you with a chef and a sommelier simultaneously. Their Studio Kitchen in Evanston holds ticketed pop-up dinners once a month if you’d like to see them in action before you commit.
Boutique Bites224 N. Ada St., Chicago | 773.313.3211
Elaina Vazquez spent her early years honing her fine-dining skills (her résumé bullet points include the Culinary Institute of America as well as the kitchen of Joel Robuchon). But a strong entrepreneurial streak and a familial pull to Chicago took over: Boutique Bites was founded in 2008. In the last ten years, Vazquez has built one of the most in-demand catering companies in Chicago. There are few chefs who could pull off a six-course tasting menu (with wine pairings) for a large wedding like Vazquez. The BB team also handles the rentals, setup, staffing, and execution. And for those clients stuck for space, Boutique Bites has recently opened its own event venue—a beautifully restored warehouse in the West Loop neighborhood called Brique.