Catering By Michaels
February 14, 2018

Vibrant Love: Patricia + Fidencio’s Wedding at Catalyst Ranch

February 14, 2018

Vibrant Love: Patricia + Fidencio’s Wedding at Catalyst Ranch

Catering By Michaels

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we’re giving you an inside look at Patricia and Fidencio’s vibrant Mexican fiesta themed wedding at Catalyst Ranch. The use of bold, vivid colors were inspired by the couples Mexican heritage and flawlessly carried out through every detail of their special day.

Catalyst Ranch served as the perfect backdrop, bringing the pops of color and festive decor to life! What we really loved about this wedding (besides the very sweet couple) was that is was so different from most of the weddings we typically cater. It’s unique, more casual and energetic vibe was not only fun for all the guests, but for the couple as well. 

As a little treat for anybody feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, let’s wander through all the Mexican fiesta themed elements in the photos captured by the very talented Cage + Aquarium

Our frozen margarita push pops — aways a guest favorite!

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Catering By Michaels
February 5, 2018

Chicago Venues We Love: Loft 21

February 5, 2018

Chicago Venues We Love: Loft 21

Catering By Michaels

We’re lucky to have so many amazing venues in our network, giving you direct access to a variety of unique backdrops to complement any type of event.

As part of our ongoing “Chicago Venues We Love” blog series, we recently spoke to Jazmine Gonzalez, Owner and President of Loft 21, to get the lowdown on Chicago’s newest and most awe-inspiring event space that can be transformed time and time again.

loft 21 Chicago event venue

What kinds of events typically take place at your venue?

We have seen clients use Loft 21 for many different events this first year. From mitzvahs and weddings, to corporate and charity galas. We have even done baby showers, 1st birthdays and 50th birthdays. It is incredible seeing how each client transforms the space to fit their vision.

loft 21 Chicago quinceanera

loft 21 Chicago wedding

What are your favorite types of events to host at Loft 21?

My personal favorite is an event where the client comes in excited to be creative. There are so many amenities with Loft 21 — from the divisible space, tables & chairs and my favorite feature, the technology. It really allows the client to put their personal stamp on their event.

loft 21

What are your favorite features of the space?

We have built the 31,000 sq ft venue to be an event space with a distinct blend of industrial and ultra-modern design. With state-of-the-art sound, lighting, 11 giant screens, and 15 mechanical walls, a client can truly transform the space to be personalized every time. There are so many amenities including; tables, ghost chairs, linens, lounge furniture and more. We have a VIP suites, 4 outdoor terraces, private parking and are surrounded by a nature preserve and trails. With 4 trap doors in the ceiling, guests are in awe when aerialists come down to serve drinks and sweets. Truly a dream venue allowing the client to design their event to fit their style.

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When you’re looking for a caterer, it’s best to inquire with multiple parties to determine the best fit for your event. As a standard practice, caterers share proposals with prospective clients that lay out their plan of action for your event, based on your initial consultation with them.

It’s important to know that you shouldn’t take these proposals at face value. Some catering companies work hard to address every detail, down to the number of cocktail napkins on hand. Others bulldoze through the details, which could result in a bit of chaos when necessary items are missing on the day of your event (or a higher budget to compensate!).

Because of this, it’s best to ask all the catering companies you’re considering some questions before signing a contract. The right questions (and catering proposal comparisons) will help you to avoid last-minute emergencies like not having enough food, or not having linen ready on the day of the event.

Here are five important things to look for when comparing catering proposals:

#1 The Menu

Even when comparing similar menus across multiple catering companies, the execution will undoubtedly be different in terms of ingredients used, serving size, taste, cost, and quality. There are caterers that offer cheap but quality food but compromise when it comes to the serving size and others that compromise size for quality.

When you initial consult with your caterer, be ready and straight up about your event non-negotiables: quality, quantity, or cost—or are you sparing no expense to get the absolute best food?

Some things to consider:

  • Flexibility of menu options. Some catering companies only offer a fixed menu, while others, like Catering by Michaels, will work to accommodate your requests (including certain dietary concerns for guests).
  • Included beverages. Are they included in the package? What type of drinks will be served? Well drinks or top shelf? Which mixers will be included? Ask about all the drinks that will be included in the package, and make your special requests known as well.
  • Can you bring your own drinks? If so, will there be an additional charge per person? When it comes to bringing in outside beverages, there is usually a small charge for insurance purposes. And if you’re planning to have alcoholic beverages, don’t forget to ensure your caterer has a liquor license in the county where you’re holding the event.

If you aren’t sure about the taste and quality of the caterer’s food and/or beverages, you can ask about tastings, but usually, this is not covered until after the proposal is accepted.

#2 Payment and Extra Charges

Let’s be real—cost is a big factor in choosing a caterer. Fortunately, there are options for every budget. But here’s where it gets tricky: some include all charges with their final proposal, while some incorporate sneaky hidden charges to make it seem like they are an affordable alternative. Because of this, it’s imperative to be aware of and ask about any possible costs that may be billed to you.

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Catering By Michaels
January 9, 2018

Don’t Forget the Late Night Snacks

January 9, 2018

Don’t Forget the Late Night Snacks

Catering By Michaels

Taco Bell put a name to the concept of snacking after dinner, which you may be familiar with as the “Fourth Meal”. Since dinner tends to happen early in the evening when it comes to staying up late, guests may be craving the extra energy that late night snacks can provide.

Including late night snacks as part of your party catering is a must if you want your guests to stick around and dance the night away. Though late night snacks seem to be most popular at weddings, they really are a must-have for any late night event. 

Let’s set the stage: your guests are partying it up on your big wedding day. They’ve already been going for hours in terms of attending the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and socializing with other guests.

By the time the dance floor opens up, they’ll only have a little bit of energy left—even if you just dug into dinner! Multiple cocktails and a champagne toast are further adding to their need for a late night pick me up. Are you starting to see how late night snacks can be the cherry on top of a perfect night?

Here are a few guest favorites:

Ramen Station: Assisted by a Uniformed Chef

Miniature Tilapia Tacos + Warm Sourdough Pretzel Nuggets

Miniature Choco Tacos

Mini Beef BLT Burger + Firecracker Shrimp

Strawberry Banana Pop Rock Truffles

Strawberry Banana Pop Rock Truffles

Which late night snacks will you serve at your next late night event? Check out Catering by Michael’s favorite menu offerings for some inspiration. We apologize in advance for making you hungry.


I feel like we say this every year, but 2017 truly was one for the books. Once again, we found ourselves involved with a number of innovative events that pushed us to be more creative than ever. But no challenge is too great for our team! We relish in the opportunity to design and cater unique events that our clients and their guests will be talking about for years to come.

To get a taste of what we were up to in 2017, here are 7 events that truly defined the year:

  1. ILEA Chicago Master’s Dinner
    ILEA is the International Live Events Association. During their signature Masters Dinner, we take the opportunity to showcase our creativity through brand new plated menu items. With plenty of industry peers in attendance, the pressure is on to go above and beyond! 

Beef Tartare Setup at ILIA Master's Dinner

For this event, the first course, main course, and dessert were all new items. Pictured above, a special set up for Beef Tartare. Below, a Plated Heirloom Root Vegetable Salad.

Heirloom Root Vegetable Salad ILEA Master's Dinner

Linens: BBJ Linen | Decor: HMR Designs | Venue: Chez Chicago

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