The final stop on your event menu tour isn’t dessert — though that’s a favorite, to be sure! It’s add-on stations, special touches that will create great memories for you and your guests. The next-level tastes will be sure to please, too.
Think of add-on stations as the bookends to your culinary journey. You may choose to add on to the cocktail hour, at the end of the event or both. Wondering what the heck is left to add more “wow factor” after the elevated hors d’oeuvres, first course and main course? We asked the experts at Robert Ryan Catering & Design for top customer picks.
Top 10 Cocktail Hour Add-On Stations
1. Sushi: Tray after tray of raw or cooked rolls to satisfy everyone’s cravings, hand-rolled during a chef-led demonstration. Sashimi and vegetarian options join the party, along with Asian-inspired toppings and chopsticks.
2. French Fry Bar: Hot fries —waffle, crinkle cut or tots — that turn a variety of toppings into the real stars! Fun fact: Despite the options, nacho cheese sauce seems to be the hometown topping of choice.
3. Flatbread Pizza: Smaller bites customized to fit your theme or preference, like classic margherita, bacon and sausage with provolone and broccoli rabe, Buffalo chicken or braised beef with all the creative fixings.
4. East meets West: A combination of Asian-American favorites, including pork dim sum, cheesesteak egg rolls and chicken pad Thai.
5. Sliders: Hand-held mini buns with fried tomatoes, pulled pork, grilled chicken or burgers tucked inside. Sides include homemade potato chips and pickles.
6. Mac-and-Cheese: It’s not just for kids! Three cheeses with a Parmesan and panko crust beckon for toppings like brisket, grilled chicken, caramelized onions, sauteed mushroom and more!
7. Quesadillas: A tasty tortilla fold-over stuffed with either beef, lime chicken or vegetables, plus Mexican-inspired toppings.
8. Mini Cocktails, Mocktails or Sangria: Smaller sips in charming vessels, like tiny milk or mason jars.
Cool When it’s Warm
9. Raw Bar: A mouthwatering selection of jumbo shrimp, Long Island oysters-on-a-half-shell and Chesapeake Bay clams-on-a-half-shell with fresh lemon wedges, sauces and oyster crackers.
Hot When it’s Cold
10. Hot Soup Shooters: A warm, small cup of soup with its mini sandwich dream date: tomato bisque and cheddar bacon panini; zucchini and squash soup with tomato, basil and mozzarella panini; or Yukon Gold potato and horseradish cream soup with a sea scallop and bacon skewer.
3 Popular End-of-Event Add-On Stations: Late-Night Snacks for Here or To-Go
1. Popcorn: All the usual flavors and then some — how about Moroccan spice, jalapeno Parmesan or apple cranberry? — plus candies.
2. Nachos: Homemade tortilla chips, hard taco shells, and plantain and potato chips are joined by shredded chicken, ground beef, melted cheddar and sour cream, plus salsa and black bean pico de gallo. Bonus: Philly pretzels!
3. Special shout-out to The Philly Snack Pack! It’s a huge hit among the Philly phaithful, offering mini cheesesteaks with fried onions and ketchup, mini soft pretzels and mustard, crab fries with white cheese sauce, and mini spring water bottles.
At a wedding or special event, there’s always room for just a little bit more! Menus change over time to offer the most on-trend and delicious options, but one thing never changes: Add-on stations are a fun and memorable way to amplify your and your guests’ experiences.
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Ready to learn more about our menus and events? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!
Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.
Featured photo by Pat Robinson Photography