So, you’ve finally mustered the courage to use your dining room table for dining. Its days as an ironing board are over. A bevy of friends are headed your way and they’ve been promised dinner. It’s time to impress – to strut your culinary stuff – but you’re; a) useless in the kitchen, b) too hip to try, or c) never undrunk after 5PM. What to do, what to do?
Those with madder money than skillz often last-minute their way to one of Orlando’s many traditional catering companies. Ya know – underpaid staff in monkey suits, pot stickers, bruschetta, sliders, deviled eggs. A lot of balsamic nonsense. A boring bit of easy. Yeah, uh, no.
Orlando is fat with pop-ups, food trucks, and enterprising indie restos – foodpreneurs willing to cook well beyond the boundaries of fixed brick and mortar. Yes, we just wrote the word foodpreneur. We own it now. Foodpreneur®©™. Patent pending. Anywho, these folks are more than happy to take work away from their corporate catering brethren.
We’ve targeted three bulletproof bets you can target for your next soiree: A pop-up, a food truck-cum-caterer, and a restaurant; Bangkrak Thai Kitchen, The Pass Progressive Cuisine, and Hunger Street Tacos. They’re just a tiny sampling of the creative alternatives available in Orlando for catering a dinner party.
Cook good food and want to join the list below? Shoot us a NOTE. If we find you neat-o, you’re in.
Bangkrak Thai Street Kitchen
Few purveyors of pop-up grub in Orlando have generated as much buzz as the freewheelin’ girls and boys of Bangkrak Thai Street Kitchen. A frequent lodger at Redlight Redlight and Whippoorwill Beer House & Package Store, they knock out unashamedly in-your-face Thai food, including dishes like Waterfall Beef, Thai Smoked Chicken Curry with Eggplant, and foodie-famous Khao Soi Gai. They also host private events and are available for hire – every now and then. It’s a laissez-affair kind of thing.
Bangkrak’s favorite private events are the invite-only ones they host at their house. Invites are posted secretly and, as you might imagine, are quickly poof-and-gone. The house parties are temporarily on hold, but when they do go down, they go down at a pretty affordable price. Meals are typically $50 per person or so where Bangkrak feeds 6 dinner slots of 6 people each.
Bangkrak is included here as they’re also available for private dinners. It’s a $100/person, 10-person minimum and as the number of people go up, the price per person goes down. Regardless, the format is always the same; a family style meal of 6-7 courses (including rice) with dishes representing all four regions of Thailand.
Bangkrak views private dinners as an opportunity to both educate (on Thai food history and technique) and freely explore dishes they can’t serve at regular pop-ups, like raw beef Laab. I repeat. Raw beef Laab. Sign us the fuck up.
Interested? Better book them before we do. Private dinner bookings are typically limited to 2 per month.
The Pass Progressive Cuisine
Pass Progressive is an Orlando-based food truck with a loyal local following, knocking out an ever-evolving stream of super tasty, Latin-inspired nibbles. They get around. East End Market, Redlight Redlight, Tasty Takeover, Sanford . . . Sanford! It helps when your kitchen has wheels. Those that track them down are treated to bites like Papa Rellena with Pork Belly, Cassava-Mojo Dusted Wings, Bacalaitos, Starfruit and Avocado Crostini, or a monster of a Medianoche. Good stuff.
Pass Progressive is actually two companies in one. Art of Taste is the food-forward catering business from which it was born. Chefs Andrew Axmacher and Guillermo Herrera founded Art of Taste after enjoying a good deal of early success in the Orlando pop-up game. Three years later, they rolled out Pass Progressive.
Axmacher told us that the food truck is where they riff, where they cook whatever inspires them – a literal vehicle for culinary free expression. Art of Taste, as a catering company, is naturally more a mashup of chef-influenced and client preference. Food often takes on more of a plated formality. Expect dishes like Mushroom Spinach Tandoori Spice Rolls with Truffle Agrodolce and Onion & fennel Fondue or Pork Belly with Yuca Pastel. Regardless, in Axmacher’s eyes the businesses are really one in the same. Same hands and minds in the kitchen with the same laser focus on food.
Hunger Street Tacos
Good news. It’ll cost ya, but Hunger Street Tacos will come to your casa and feed you. Actually, great news for us. We love Hunger Street and can’t imagine anything better than being treated to multiple courses of off-menu Mexican goodness in the dark, sprawling confines of the Orlando Eats’ haunted mansion. Hey, it’s home.
Book ‘em and brothers Creech and crew will create the menu, cook the food, serve your meal, and clean up the mess. Expect inventive south-of-the-border eats made from scratch. If you’re not familiar with their food, you can check out our review HERE. You can also just salivate over the photo of the rib taco with mole verde below.
As a resto, Hunger Street flexes quite a bit, providing everything from large scale catering packages for weddings and large events (menu here) to everyday supersized orders and chef-driven private dinners (which, of course, is why they’re listed here).
Regardless of the scope and nature of the engagement, there is a minimum charge of $500. This applies to private chef-led dinners as well, which require a minimum of four people and four courses.
Hunger Street typically limits its catering and private chef services to a 20-mile radius of downtown Winter Park – expect to be charged more if you’re located much further afoot.
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