Food bars and self-serve food stations are becoming very popular these days. The idea of being able to customize your own food can be very appealing to some guests. Not only is it a novel, fun idea for a wedding, but it also allows the flexibility that all guests will appreciate. In addition, it encourages your guests to get out of their seats and mingle with other guests, promoting a social and community atmosphere. For caterers, it can also be beneficial as you will not have to cater and serve to each individual guest. For all these reasons and more, it is important to have a good lineup of food bar ideas for your upcoming events. If you have some catching up to do, or need some fresh ideas, try some of these for your next event!
- Potato Bar – Everyone loves potatoes, but not everyone likes it prepared the same way. Set up a potato bar for your guests,
offering potatoes served in many different ways! Include mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato wedges, french fries, and potato chips. Be sure to include all kinds of condiments on the side so your guests can dress their potatoes how they like as well. Try cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, chives, ketchup, mayonnaise, and more!
- Omelette Bar – Omelettes are a hearty favorite that can also be served a wide variety of different ways. What better than to let your guests prepare their omelletes themselves and to their liking! Provide plenty of eggs, bacon, onions, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Also have a hefty portion for bacon, sausage, ham, and other meats for your omelette. Be sure to also include a wide variety of different herbs, spices, and salts so your guests can add that final touch of flavor to their omelettes.
- Trail Mix Bar – Sometimes snacks make a great idea for a food bar. For those that are also trying to be health conscious, a trail mix food bar can be a great option too. There is much flexibility with this type of food bar, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Some staples include a variety of nuts, dehydrated berries, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and other fruits, chocolate chips, yogurt chips, M&M’s, gummy bears, and more!
- Pretzel Bar – A great thing about a pretzel bar is that you can prepare these both savory or sweet. Pretzels go great as a dessert when dipped or coated in chocolate, or spread with jelly or jam. Topped off with some coconut flakes, bananas, strawberries, and other fresh fruit, it makes for a great dessert. Pretzels also go great with cheese, various deli meats, or just plain old mustard. Try providing some melted cheese, along with some pepperoni and even marinara sauce for a unique, pizza-like pretzel.
- Grilled Cheese Bar – This hearty and delicious comfort food makes
a great choice for a food bar because of its simplicity. When the only requirements are bread and cheese, you already have virtually limitless combinations that are possible to make. Offer many different kinds of breads, from a slightly sweet potato bread to a spicy and salty cheese and jalapeno baked bread. You can even try bagels, croissants, english muffins, or even Indian naan! The same can be said for the cheeses – get creative with your selection! Other toppings may also be a good idea to include, such as fresh tomato slices, pepperoni, bacon bits, and hot sauce.
- Popcorn Bar – Popcorn is another universal favorite, and it is very easy to prepare and to serve. It is also such a light and convenient treat that it is very easy for people to snack on. Popcorn is also very versatile, as it can come prepared in a wide variety of flavors, from salty to savory to sweet and more. Be sure to include the classics buttered popcorn and caramel popcorn, but don’t be afraid to try cheese covered popcorn, salt and vinegar popcorn, buffalo or bbq style popcorn, etc! One of the great things about popcorn is its versatility so don’t be afraid to get creative with the flavors here.
- Fruit and Veggie Bar – While this may seem boring and dull on the surface, it can actually be the star of the show if done right. Instead of just creating the same old fruit and veggie spread with dip, go the extra mile this time. Try making it a point to only get in season, local produce and incorporate that into your events theme. Try to look for ingredients that are a little unusual or special to your location and prepare something special around that. You can also try making your own dipping sauces using these ingredients as well. By making this food bar healthy, fresh, local, and exciting, you can get your guests to begin to appreciate the natural foods that are already around them everyday.
- Donut Bar – Everybody loves donuts, and donuts make another great option for a food bar. Donuts can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and more importantly flavors and toppings. Donuts can be completely plain and still be delicious, but they can also be glazed, covered in frosting, infused with chocolate, fruits, and more. Even better, you can top your donuts with fudge, sprinkles, nuts, or jelly to give it the finishing touch. If you want to be daring, try including unusual topping items like marshmallow fluff, nutella,
honey, ice cream, or even bacon!
- Caramel Apple Bar – Another forgotten classic treat is the caramel apple. Try creating a food bar dedicated to creating the ultimate caramel apple. Offer multiple kinds of caramel to coat your apples with, from salted caramel to butterscotch caramel, to even melted milk and white chocolate. For toppings, try ground nuts of all kinds, mini marshmallows, crushed M&M’s and other candy bars, shredded coconut flakes, cookie crumble, toffee bits, dried, fruits, and much more!
- Shaved Ice Bar – The warm weather is quickly approaching, and your guest will be demanding something cold and refreshing. An easy way out would be to offer ice cream – but why be like everyone else? Try something a little different but just as good, like shaved ice! A shaved ice bar can be very versatile as well, allowing for a variety of different flavored syrups and toppings to be used. Syrups can range from all kinds of fruity flavors to a mojito or other drink flavor. Toppings can be even more varied. Try offering all kinds of fresh fruits, from various berries to mangoes, strawberries, kiwis, and pineapples. You can also offer chocolate fudge, coconut flakes, and cherries. If you so dare, try infusing these with alcohol for an added kick to this already exciting dessert!
Try these ideas at your next event and your guests will be guaranteed to love them! The variety of options and toppings will allow for unmatched customizability that your guests will appreciate. If you need any help getting the necessary catering supplies together for your food bars, you can find it all at Caterer’s Warehouse!