Many of Chicago’s larger restaurant groups — Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, and even Rick Bayless — have their own catering operations. Now another company is poised to join that private events club. DineAmic Catering & Events has launched from the group behind restaurants including Prime & Provisions (the Loop steakhouse), BomboBar (the Instagram-famous dessert den), and Bandit (the pop-culture obsessed West Loop bar/restaurant).
DineAmic has provided catering services at its private events space in the Loop, Builders BLDG. The company’s recently seen an uptick in requests for catering which led to the formation of the catering arm. DineAmic co-founder Lucas Stoioff spoke with Eater Chicago about their new business. Here’s five things to know about DineAmic’s new catering arm.
- Stoioff believes the experience in running several restaurants will help his catering business. Stoioff sees DineAmic’s restaurants as kind of a catering lab to test recipes. Armed with lots of customer feedback, Stoioff feels his team knows how diners will respond to their food and can offer their best for private events. That could include a make-your-own taco bar from Top Chef alum and Barrio chef Katsuji Tanabe or the giant pull-apart sliders from Bandit. They’ll also allow customers to mix and match items from different restaurants.
- They’ll also provide servers. Stoioff lamented how some caterers are at the mercy of third-party servers. They may have a well-thought out menu, but if the food isn’t served properly, the chef’s vision is distorted. DineAmic’s servers know their menu, and that gives them an advantage on site, Stoioff said.
- Despite the fiscal pressures of running a restaurant in Chicago, DineAmic is seeing an increase in private events. While nothing is immune to the economy, Stoioff is banking that people will always celebrate birthdays, baptisms, graduations, bar and bat mitzvahs, and weddings: “There’s never really a shortage,” Stoioff said.
- They’ll offer services for events between 25 to 2,500 people. They’ve gained experience over the last few years at their private event space. Over the summer they catered the media tent at Lollapalooza in Grant Park. If a customer wanted Tanabe or fellow Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani (Bar Siena, Siena Tavern) at the event, Stoioff said they could make it happen.
- Stoioff acknowledged the strong work of other caterers, whether it’s a restaurant group or a smaller family owned operation. He and co-founder David Rekhson just believe their company can complement the marketplace by offering customers items from their portfolio of restaurants. Stoioff’s held onto the idea for a catering company since the early 2000s when DineAmic began to take shape as he and Rekhson diverted their attentions from nightclubs toward restaurants.