Mexican food abounds in the Twin Cities. The following are four Mexican restaurants that offer private event space and/or catering.
Jefe Urban Hacienda
Jefe Urban Hacienda in Minneapolis is an upscale taquería in a beautiful Spanish setting—comfortable and warm with candles, roomy oak tables and vintage art. Hall of Kings is a private event space that, including its Camelot Bar, can accommodate up to 200 guests for a seated dinner and up to 250 standing. For smaller groups, the Camelot Bar can host up to 50 guests standing.
“Hall of Kings,” says Event Manager Victoria Barlow, “is an elegant, candle-lit space featuring iron, sandstone walls, stone arches and wood beams that hearken back to earlier times when one could be cared for at the Royal Court. There are metal-carved kings at the entrance to the Hall of Kings. The metal work is all handcarved—metal chandeliers and metal fixtures. It’s a romantic, authentic and dramatic events venue housed within a historic warehouse that was built in 1870. It’s located along Minneapolis’ historic cobblestone Main Street near St. Anthony Falls. It’s exquisite.”
Popular event appetizers include the authentic Cubano, bacon-wrapped dates filled with manchego cheese and the oxtail quesadilla. Another favorite is Jefe house salad with quinoa, avocado, pepita and citrus vinaigrette. Popular entrees include the flank steak with cilantro lime, the pork chili relleno and the Moroccan chicken with herbed cous cous.
Says Barlow, “We also have specialty cocktails like our Jefe margarita or sangria and a deep list of mezcals and beers plus an expert wine list.”
For an affordable, fun and laid-back Mexicanfood experience, you want to have Rusty Taco cater your private event. There are five locations: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Eagan, Eden Prairie and Maple Grove. While dining in, taking out and delivery are popular options, the catering end of the business is really taking off. “We have a full catering team that goes to your location and sets up buffet-style,” says Pam Ringgenberg, franchise operator. “We can cater for any amount of people. The largest we’ve done is for 700. We mainly cater corporate events, private home events, graduation parties, weddings and birthday parties.”
According to Ringgenberg, the taco bar is one of the most popular catering options. “We have 14 different kinds of tacos, and you get a choice of two types of tacos or three types of tacos. Chips and salsa come with it,” she says. “Our most popular tacos are the grilled fish taco, the brisket taco, the roasted pork taco and the rusty taco, which has achiote pork with pineapple, onion and cilantro. Our tacos are street-style, so they’re served on a soft corn tortilla. There’s also the option of doing a soft flour tortilla. We have a nacho bar, too. For dessert, we have churros and sopapillas.
“Another option is our food truck, which we do for lots of private events. We actually bring the food truck to your location and set it up. It’s operational from April to October.”
La Loma Tamales
If you are a fan of tamales, then you want your event catered by La Loma Tamales from its Midtown Global Market location in Minneapolis. “That’s what we’re known for,” says Enrique Garcia-Salazar, who is coowner with his wife Noelia Garcia Urzua. The two of them moved to the United States right after getting married in their hometown of Quebrantadero, a small town in Mexico’s heartland. They brought with them a dream and a recipe. The dream was to create a new future for themselves in the United States, and the recipe was to make homemade tamales the same way they are made in Mexico.
“We have 10 different kinds of tamales,” Garcia-Salazar says. “The best-selling one is the chicken and green sauce tamale. The pork and red sauce tamale is also popular. We also have the tamale Oxaqueño, which is a bigger tamale and more spicy than the others. Also popular are our enchiladas and tacos. We normally do buffet-style and can accommodate groups of up to 800 guests. We cater corporate events, birthday parties, graduation parties and events at different schools and universities.”
There are three other locations—Minneapolis/ Mercado Central, downtown Minneapolis Northstar and downtown St. Paul Town Square. All four locations are set in food courts.
Cocina del Barrio
For a top-notch Mexican catering experience, try Cocina del Barrio in Edina. Its most popular item is the taco bar. “It’s a very comprehensive, build-your-own taco bar where you have a selection of a couple different meat fillings,” says General Manager and Catering Coordinator Sean Foley. “It comes with a wide variety of accompaniments such as lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, jalapenos, limes and salsa to name a few. Generally we do soft shells only, with soft flour and soft corn. We can do hard shells if it’s requested. We also have a number of appetizer platters, which is probably the next biggest hit. Guacamole is huge. Aside from that, we do a lot of tequila shrimp skewers. In the summertime, we do a lot of jicama pineapple mango skewers. We do a lot of chicken enchilada platters, too. For dessert, we have our tres leche cake, which translates to three milks—three different kinds of milk are used in it.”
According to Foley, Cocina del Barrio does most of its catering off-site. “We’ve done groups as small as eight people and as large as 400. That’s about our max,” he said. “We do a lot of office lunches in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Generally, the most common size is about 30 people. On-site, we can accommodate up to 200 guests seated for the whole restaurant. Most on-site events in our private event space is for 16-18 guests.”
There are four other Barrio Tequila Bar locations: downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul, Target Field and Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The Minneapolis and St. Paul locations offer private event space but do not do off-site catering.