Wedding and Event Catering

Find a caterer near Park West, IL

Find a caterer near Park West, IL

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Top 10 Caterers near Park West, IL

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do you find a good caterer?

Reviews, interviews and menu tastings will help you find the right catering choice for your big day. Start by screening possible wedding caterers based on past reviews. If a caterer you are interested in has a review that concerns you, ask them about it; how they respond will be very telling. Next, ask about their availability for your wedding date.

If the wedding caterer is available on your date, it’s time to talk about menus and prices. Be clear about what your maximum budget is find out what choices this will allow you. Caterers may custom-create a menu for your event, or they may have menu templates within different price ranges that can guide your decision. A clear budget gives the caterer clear parameters within which to work and offer creative suggestions. Schedule a menu tasting to confirm you love your wedding menu. Once you have a menu and date, and have paid a deposit to reserve the caterer’s services, confirm additional details including when the food will be delivered to the site, what kind of service will be provided, how many servers will be onsite and for how long, and who is responsible for setup and cleanup. The more specific your contract, the fewer worries you’ll have on your wedding day. Get more smart hiring tips here.

How much does it cost to hire a caterer?

Catering prices depend mainly on how fancy you want the food and service to be and how many guests you’ll have. When you’re first looking to hire a caterer for your event, consider how many guests you’ll have and your total food and drink budget. The national average for event catering is $340, but catering prices can range into the thousands depending on your menu, guest count, and service.

Event catering is a broad term that covers everything from fully prepared, ready-to-eat food that the hosts plate and serve themselves to full-service, multicourse meals, including rental of linens, glassware and other items, with service staff organized by the catering company. Usually a caterer will determine cost based on the type of event you’re having, how many guests will attend, the level of service you desire, and what type of menu you’d like to have. For example, if you have a set catering budget, say $1,500, and you plan to have 50 people attend, that means you have $30 per person for food. If you have the same budget with 100 people, you have $15 per person for food. In this way, the number of people you want to attend your event and the level of food you want to serve them determines how much catering will cost.

How much should catering cost per person?

Catering prices can range from about $10 per guest on the low end to $150 or more per person on the high end. Catering costs represent the quality of food, presentation, variety, ingredients and service. But catering prices are more than the cost to cook the food that will be at your party; they also include the cost for the company to do business. Here is a simple breakdown of catering prices:

  • Menu: The food you serve your guests will directly affect the price per person. Organic ingredients, complex recipes, elaborate presentations, or high-ticket items like lobster or filet mignon all add to the cost.
  • Service: Buffet, family style, plated dinners — how you serve the food affects the cost per person. For example, a true plated meal can cost about twice the price of a staff-assisted buffet because of staffing costs. Hiring waiters, bartenders and cleanup crew will all be calculated into the per-person catering price.
  • Drinks: Providing beverages and alcoholic drinks for guests greatly increases your catering budget. Hosting an open bar can cost as much per person as the meal.
  • Rentals: Seating, plates, glassware, etc., will all have an effect on the cost per person for catering. For example, a plastic conference table that seats 10 costs about $6 to rent on average, while a wooden farmhouse table is about $80 to rent on average.
  • Business costs: Any catering cost will also include the cost for the company to do business such as insurance, employee wages, commercial kitchen space and more.

How much does wedding catering cost per person?

Wedding catering costs will always vary based on the number of guests you’re inviting, the menu you want to serve, and the way the food will be served to your guests. As you interview wedding catering companies, you’ll be presented with a cost per person for various menus. On the low end, wedding catering may cost approximately $15-$18 per person. This would include prepared food only, with no setup or service of any kind. The starting price for a simple buffet meal with minimal service typically averages $22 per person. Opting for the same menu with all organic ingredients could raise your costs to about $33 per person. A moderately upscale menu (finer ingredients, more elaborate presentation) could range from $24 to $34 per person. High-end wedding catering cost truly has no limit. Lobster, filet mignon, specialty seafood, organic ingredients — menu choices like these can boost your cost per person up to $150 and more.

What should you look for in a caterer?

A delicious meal is a critical element of a successful wedding, with happy guests fondly remembering your fabulous wedding food. The right caterer for you will be:

  • Available: Even the best caterer is no good if they aren’t available on your wedding date. Ask early before you get your heart set on someone.
  • Affordable for you: Find a caterer that you can afford. Having a spending plan ahead of time will mean you won’t overspend on food.
  • A good personality fit: Wedding planning is stressful, so work with someone that you can get along with and communicate with easily.
  • Experienced and recommended: Ensure the company has a proven track record with events of your size and the references to back it up.
  • Transparent about money: Steer clear of shady pricing. Find a caterer who is very clear about costs and is happy to talk you through budgets and pricing options.
  • Transparent about food: Find someone who is clear about where they source their food from and where it is prepared.

How much should catering cost for a wedding?

The cost of wedding catering will reflect the level of service, the menu you choose, the luxury you desire and the number of guests you invite. Where you live also plays a major role in your wedding catering costs. The regional cost to do business and local cost of food will affect your catering bill. There is no set price for wedding catering, because each wedding and each menu is different. This is why many caterers provide a per-person price. This allows you to break down what it costs to feed each person based on the menu you want. Working with your caterer, you can adjust menu items, service level and more to accommodate your budget and guest count. Keep in mind that wedding catering costs are not just for the food. The bill reflects all the components that go into commercial food catering: a commercial kitchen, ingredients, staff, insurance, marketing and more. Here are some examples of average costs:

  • Three-course plated meal, moderately upscale, for 125 in Los Angeles: $14,000. Because of staffing costs, a true plated meal costs about twice as much as a staff-assisted buffet.
  • Buffet meal, standard menu, for 100 in Los Angeles: $5,000.
  • Per-person cost for hors d'oeuvres, dinner and nonalcoholic beverages: $24–$37, depending on menu selection, in Southern California.
  • Drop off prepared food for 50: $1,000 in North Carolina. Price does not include any service, setup or breakdown.

How do you serve food at a wedding?

Food service at your wedding will affect your catering costs and influence the atmosphere of the reception. Buffet style is more informal; plated meals are a bit fancier; family style encourages sharing. Read about the different food service styles to select your preferred wedding catering choice.

  • Buffet: Caterers can drop off prepared foods for a DIY and budget-friendly buffet option where you set everything up and food is entirely self-service. For a fuller-service buffet, the caterers set up food, oversee the buffet throughout the event, and clean up afterwards. For food only, prices per person might average $16-$18, while a service buffet may start around $20-$22 per person. Adding food stations can increase per-person costs by at least $3-$5.
  • Family style: Servers bring large platters of food to guest tables in courses. It’s less formal (and less expensive) than a plated meal, but more formal and higher-cost than a buffet. You’ll need large tables to accommodate the platters, so plan accordingly when renting furniture for the event.
  • Plated: A plated event is a formal dining experience; waitstaff serve your seated guests for each course, fill their drinks, and attend to them throughout the dinner. A plated dinner is typically the most expensive option for both food and service.
  • Food trucks: Similar to buffets, with food trucks your guests get their own food and bring it to their table. A food truck gives a relaxed and playful vibe to your reception.
  • Cocktail reception: If you don’t want a formal seated dinner, you can opt for a wide assortment of passed appetizers at an extended cocktail hour reception.

Do you tip a wedding caterer?

Tipping 15 percent to 20 percent on a $3,000 catering bill can feel daunting — especially in light of all the other costs of throwing a wedding — but tipping your wedding caterer is standard practice. Be sure to ask your caterer about their specific policies. Many catering companies include gratuity as a line item on their bill. If tipping is not automatically included in your total, a good approach is to tip all the people involved the day of the event rather than paying one lump sum to the catering company. For each server and bartender, you can tip $20-$50, depending on how long they were onsite and whether they did exceptional work. You can also tip the chef; experts suggest $50. It’s also a good idea to tip the catering manager, the point-of-contact person who keeps the catering service running smoothly the day of your wedding, ensures all the food looks beautiful and is plentiful, and resolves any mishaps. Industry pros recommend tipping the catering manager $100-$200. If gratuity is not included and you’re tipping individuals, set aside $200-$500 in cash to be safe.

Reviews for Park West caterers
Thumbtack Customer
David catered a baptism party for 15 guests. He did BBQ dinner. Everything was tasty. Prep, serving and clean-up were terrific. I recommend Lakeshore Private Chef & Catering and David Leigh.
Lakeshore Private Chef & CateringLakeshore Private Chef & Catering
Paula M.
It was such a pleasure working with someone as professional as Ravi with Chic Chef Catering. He goes above and beyond to ensure that you and your guests are well fed and well taken care of. I will definitely be using Chic Chef catering again!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Ravi catered our company grand opening. The food was outstanding & Ravi & his staff were incredible!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Kate N.
Lee was amazing to work with, she is not only such a pleasant hard working person but she hit the nail on the head with our wedding catering. She ministered to our budget in an excellent way and we are very blessed and happy customers!! Don’t look any further she is your best choice for professional delicious catering.
Heavenly Hands Event Catering LLCHeavenly Hands Event Catering LLC
Thumbtack Customer
My family and I were so pleased with North Island Catering. Allen was a pleasure to work with. He went well above our expectations. He treated our event as if it were his own families. Our guest loved the food and even asked for his contact information for future parties. We will definitely have North Island cater for us again.
North Island CateringNorth Island Catering
Alycia C.
Awesome Awesome catering experience. Ravi recently catered my baby shower for approximately 25-30 people. The food was fresh tasting, delicious and most of all the service was IMPECCABLE!! Ravi and his team (Anna) arrived on time, setup all the food, helped service the guests with their drinks, food, etc. All together, it was a top notch experience. We will most definitely use Ravi again!!!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Andrea J.
Kristin is the best caterer! We connected about 3 weeks before my Housewarming party for 40 guests. Not only was she able to hire a bartender and server, she also supplied a bartender table! She worked with me to make an absolutely delicious meal (Southern/Cajun) and her signature charcuterie board is a true show-stopper! If I could give more than 5 stars I would! Will definitely plan to use her for all my catering needs.
Kristen HaynesKristen Haynes
Anne G.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Allen and Chris were super accommodating for our "Around The World" event. We had a custom list of appetizers that North Island Catering had created just for our event and the food and the presentation was nothing short of wonderful. Our event was a complete success and we owe it to North Island Catering, they put in a ton of thought for our custom party. They are extremely professional and creative and the food was delicious. We highly recommend Allen and Chris for any event and we will be using them for our next event.
North Island CateringNorth Island Catering
Naté A.
This company catered my wedding dinner in June, and people are still raving about the food! Not only was the food well-presented, but it was also delicious! We had meat-eaters who said the vegetarian lasagna was the best lasagna they’ve ever tasted. Hiring a catering company without tasting the food in advance was a huge risk, but I was certainly not disappointed! This was a drop-off (we did setup and serving ourselves), and they made sure all buffet equipment was included. I will hire this company again, 10/10 recommend.
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Lindsey V.
Ravi and his team were wonderful from start to finish for our wedding reception! The food was wonderful and they went out of their way to make sure our guests were satisfied. We would definitely book Chic Chef Catering in the future!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Fash K.
We almost had the event catered by Chic Chef until our planning team modified the vision for the fundraiser. The initial interaction with Chic Chef was professional and the food tasting went very well. For our next fundraiser they are in our short list..
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Ravi was incredibly accommodating. Went above and beyond to ensure our event went smoothly, we stayed within our budget, and had a fantastic menu catered to our specific audience. Cannot say more positive things, HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Thumbtack Customer
Ravi and his team did an amazing job of servicing our New Years Eve party with 120 guests! The service was outstanding and the food was delicious! I will definitely recommend Chic Chef Catering to my friends and family in the future. Above and beyond expectations!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Andrea F.
Loretta was absolutely wonderful. She catered my NYE event. She was extreme responsive when I first reached out to her. She provided me with plenty of options all which sounded delicious. She prompt and very responsive with all of her communication with me. On the day of the event, she arrived early and set-up the food beautifully. Most importantly, the food was phenomenal! We were so excited when we had some leftovers to enjoy the following day. We will definitely reach out to Loretta for any future catering events. Thank you Loretta for helping me host my event! It really elevated it and everyone truly enjoyed the food.
Just a BiteJust a Bite
Devonda C.
I hired Chef Patrick for my mother’s surprise 60th birthday party and everything was great!He was professional, on time, and the food was delicious. There was plenty of food leftover and he left to go containers for my guests. I will definitely keep him in mind for all of my future catering needs!
Beyond Cuisine Experience Private Chef & CateringBeyond Cuisine Experience Private Chef & Catering
Sam And Jordan D.
If we could have rated their expertise in all five area choices we would have. The name says it all, Chef Lee definitely handled our wedding event with hands from heaven. From her responsiveness, delivering our tasting and empathetic care with any questions we had leading up to the day to the quality of her food and the excellent bar services provided during the reception, we literally couldn’t have been more happy with the services provided. The Heavenly Catering Staff took genuine care of us and our guests. My mother being an incredibly picky eater was SHOOK. We’re just saying, we would definitely recommend Heavenly Hands for your catering needs!!
Heavenly Hands Event Catering LLCHeavenly Hands Event Catering LLC
Erin F.
We hosted a welcome party in Chicago the day before my son's wedding. Many people were coming in from out of state (me included). Just a Bite was the right caterer for our event! Loretta was fantastic, reliable, professional, and a delight to work with. She listened and understood exactly what I wanted for the event, and it turned out perfectly!
Just a BiteJust a Bite
Thumbtack Customer
North Island Catering did a fantastic job at our office party downtown. There were about 45 guests. The open bar was quite the hit. The appetizers were phenomenal. The service was very professional, helpful, and accommodating. The two owners are extremely honest and down to earth- Oh, and the prices are great! We will definitely be hiring Christina and Allen for our next office gathering!!
North Island CateringNorth Island Catering
Sabrina F.
Allen was great in making sure that everything was ready to go for my event. He made sure that we were getting the best deal possible in our interest. We had a great wait staff on the night of our banquet, and that made our night a success and one we will never forget! North Island Catering is amazing and I highly recommend their wonderful services!
North Island CateringNorth Island Catering
Thumbtack Customer
My now husband and I hired Ravi this past weekend for our wedding reception and we could not have been more pleased with our experience. The food was outstanding, the service was seamless, and Ravi was very flexible, accommodating, a joy to work with, and the pricing could not be beat. We would highly recommend Chic Chef Catering to anyone and will definitely hire Ravi for future events of ours!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Janice A.
This was my first event with Girl and the Kitchen and it will not be my last!!! I wish I was able to mark "all of the above"! Mila responded to my request almost immediately. Not having done an event like this, Mila walked me through the process. The team's punctuality, professionalism, attention to detail, outstanding food, incredible personalities...just to name a few...makes Girl and the Kitchen an outstanding caterer for one's next event.
Girl and the KitchenGirl and the Kitchen
Thumbtack Customer
I am a few weeks late posting this review but I simply had to make time to say what a WONDERFUL company North Island catering is!! We not only had the very BEST service from the moment I sent request looking for a catering company for our event, but the food, service, bartenders, chefs, waiters and waitresses all did a phenomenal job start to finish! The owners were always a phone call or email away and answered my calls almost on the first ring every single time! We had meetings before our event to be sure we were all on the same page with every detail and they certainly did not miss a thing! We were hosting our Daughter's going away party into the Coast Guard. We held the party outdoors on our dock at our harbor downtown Chicago. We had to have hundreds of guests throughout the evening and every single guest mentioned to us how delicious the food was and the great service they received from the chef, waiter, waitresses and bartender! We will certainly hire this company each and every time we host a party! They made this event go so smoothly that it was so nice to have a stress free party and enjoy time with all of our guests without having any of the stress or headaches that can come along with parties that size. I must send a HUGE THANK YOU to Alan, Christina, and their FANTASTIC staff at "North Island catering"!! Paulette C
North Island CateringNorth Island Catering
Jonathon Y.
Ravi gave us a great deal, and worked through many details with us for our wedding reception. He came in-person to our venue walk-through, and was at the event to make sure everything went smoothly. We had a full roast pig (which we requested and they delivered!), salad, rolls, and a very nice ice cream bar for dessert. Our guests loved it and the food was delicious. Thanks Chic Chef Catering!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
Jess S.
We were so pleased with Mike's catering for our recent baby shower! Leading up to the day, Mike was super accommodating of our needs and worked with us to provide what we wanted in terms of food within the budget we had allotted. The menu turned out fantastic thanks to his recommendations, and we had so many compliments on the food! We will definitely be hiring him again for future events and would recommend him to anyone!
Chez Mikey LLCChez Mikey LLC
Thumbtack Customer
We had a Great Experience with Chic Chef! They worked with our budget, they were on time, they brought everything they said they would bring, and most of all......The Food was Absolutely Delicious! Our Office Party was a Huge Success thanks to Chic Chef. I am Still getting compliments from colleagues for my choice of caterer! It was my first time organizing the event- Now I'm a Rock Star! :-) We all will definitely be doing business with Ravi and Alex in the future. Thank you Thumbtack!
Chic Chef CateringChic Chef Catering
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