By Julia Christensen
It seems everyone is becoming a foodie, notes Butler’s Pantry owner Richard Nix Jr. And while a room full of people with similar interests could make for great conversation, a house filled with food experts might leave a host or hostess anxious. To fix this problem, and many others, Nix recommends allowing the professionals to assist you during your hours of entertaining guests.
Having your party catered doesn’t mean skimping on freshly made or homemade food. “One of the things we’re focused on is trying to produce as much inside the home as possible,” Nix says. “The days of a truck pulling up and unloading prepared food are disappearing.” If this benefits the party in no other way, Nix notes it fills the home with cooking smells—an appropriate welcome sign to guests.
While entertaining, Nix recommends you utilize your entire home. “Whether you’re sitting at a served dinner or up-and-cocktailing, I like to move dessert out of the dining room,” Nix explains. “Having people adjourn to the living room for coffee and dessert service changes the venue, and it brings different conversation. The same works if the party grows; think about putting dessert and coffee somewhere unusual—such as on your terrace with a rolling fire.”
“I think people underestimate what goes into a party of 50 people—even a party of 20 people can be intimidating,” explains Sarah Glass, director of sales and catering. “We like to walk in and let the host be a guest at their own party.”
Prior to the event, Glass says a Butler’s Pantry team member can stop by the home to look at the layout, kitchen facilities and flow. She says set-up can often happen shortly before the event, or—should the host or hostess prefer—even earlier. “A lot of clients want to see the vision before they need to get ready,” Glass says.
As opposed to full themes, Nix advises having an element of interest to your party, such as a bubbly bar or bourbon tasting. Another aspect your guests will surely notice? Utilizing local products. “We want to keep the dollars in St. Louis, so we’re always scouring for the local artisans, the local farmers and the local producers,” Nix says. “It could be florals, it could be linens—it’s not just about tomatoes and basil, it’s every aspect. Even some of the alcohol that we’re using is crafted here in the region.”
With professional assistance, Nix says hosts and hostesses can enjoy these party aspects much like the guests. “More and more, there are two-income families. Mom works hard, as does dad. Whether it’s eight or 80 people at your house, you want to be able to sit down and enjoy the evening.”
On the Cover: Butler’s Pantry has been planning and catering events since 1966. On the cover: Sarah Glass, Courtney Ochs, Maggie Eichwald, Richard Nix Jr., Chuck Friedhoff and Melody Buckner. For more information, call 664-7680 or visit butlerspantry.com.