For my fiancé and I, food is at the top of our priorities list for our big day. After a wedding, we always discuss the food (of course we discussed the bride & groom, but food was always discussed), so we knew we wanted to have food everyone would rave about so we were very particular when choosing our caterer!
We knew we couldn’t go above and beyond with lobster tail and filet mignon (truthfully, I wouldn’t want to serve either at our wedding – it’s not really us!). However, our love for barbeque is a great representation of our favorite foods and us! Give me some pulled pork and mac&cheese and my fiancé some ribs and we’re quite content. Don’t get me wrong we love a good steak and seafood meal, but barbeque was a much more affordable option that pleases every palette; not to mention we get to show my northern family what good ole southern barbeque taste like!
After signing our contract with our venue, the next step was to find a caterer. Our venue (All Saints Chapel) has a “Preferred Vendor List”, which lists about 8-10 different catering options ranging from higher priced caterers to very simple caterers. Specifically, there were 2 premier barbeque caterers on the vendor list: The Pit (Empire Eats Catering) and Clyde’s Cooper Barbeque. There were other caterers on the list that provide barbeque options, but they didn’t specialize in barbeque. Although both The Pit and Clyde’s are widely known in the Triangle as go-to spots for barbeque, after researching both options, we decided The Pit fit our wants more (they are more of an upscale barbeque place, have been featured on The Food Network multiple times, and specialize in ribs), so we decided to set-up a tasting with Empire Eats Catering.
Once we set up the tasting, we were contacted by the Catering Sales Coordinator to ask about the wedding and the food we were interested in tasting. We were almost positive we wanted to go with the barbeque theme, so pulled pork, ribs, and mac&cheese were definitely on our tasting menu. However, Empire Eats Catering doesn’t just focus on barbeque. The company owns many restaurants in the Raleigh area, such as The Pit, The Morning Times, The Raleigh Times, Gravy, and Sitti (all are go-to restaurants in the Triangle), so they incorporate the menu items from those restaurants into the catering, but also have the ability to create different dishes and combine dishes. Therefore, I asked the Catering Sales Coordinator to include other foods just so we could be sure of our decision.
Upon arrival at the Empire Eats catering kitchen, we were seated in a beautiful tasting room that was set-up just for the two of us. I thought it was a nice little treat to make it more intimate for us by having the tasting room all ready and organized upon our arrival. Each dish that was brought out was described in great detail before we would dig our forks into the dishes, so we knew exactly what we tasted. Because of the multiple restaurants within Empire Eats Catering Company, I highly recommend trying the many different food options they (or your caterer) offer, as you may want something different than you thought you wanted. For example, we would have never picked scallops as an appetizer because we aren’t huge fans, but if we were adding appetizers to our menu (with all of the food & dessert bar, heavy appetizers would be too much!), we would add the scallops we tasted. They were exquisite!
Empire Eats Catering described themselves as servers of comfort food with a twist – taking local ingredients and turning them into delicious meals that create a warm atmosphere. They understand food is something that makes people happy and brings them together. Their Catering Sales Coordinator could not describe our wedding meal more perfect when she said, “it’s your life, on a plate together.” The pride in which she made that statement showed me we were in great hands with Empire Eats. Another huge bonus was that because our caterer and venue are owned by the same parent company, we received a discount on our venue! I do want add a note that we didn’t choose Empire Eats for this reason. We wanted the best food and were willing to pay a little more to get the best; Empire Eats was the best and just happened to be a great deal.
Besides their wonderful food, attentive staff, and the added discount, Empire Eats works directly with our linen company, CE Rental, and will handle all of the linens for us. We just had to go pick out the linens we wanted, and style we were going for, and they take care of the rest.
Most people have been surprised with how relaxed I have been planning this wedding, and although I think some of it has to do with my organizational skills, I must say a majority of it has to do with the fact that I feel like we have some of the greatest vendors – especially with the Empire Properties company in its entirety.
What style of food did you decide on?
Are you pleased with your vendor selection?
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.