Sometimes you need food and beverage on wheels for convenience or a memorable touch to get attendees talking. We found creamy homemade ice cream, delicious java, beautifully spun cotton candy, and gorgeous boxed platters that are mobile.
Rachel and Mark Meissner wanted to bring the vibe of being at a favorite coffee shop and sipping a handcrafted warm beverage to corporate events, weddings, and other celebrations. With Coffee Cart MPLS, they are doing just that and keeping it local by using coffee from six different roasters located in the Twin Cities.
“We owned a company before this, have a background in restaurants and coffee, and were looking to branch out. There is a lack of quality coffee on the wedding scene, so we took it step-by-step,” Mark says. “Corporate events have been huge for us, too, and it has translated well.”
Coffee Cart MPLS baristas serve up all sorts of coffee drinks, from cappuccinos, cold brew, and pour over to seasonal specialty drinks. People who don’t drink coffee won’t be left out with chai, various hot teas, and hot chocolate offered. There also is an iced tea bar option that can be added and paired with a cold brew bar in warmer weather or perhaps an espresso bar when the temperatures drop.
For a special touch, Coffee Cart MPLS customizes cups with a personalized stamp or stickers and places corporate logos on coffee carts, which can be booked for occasions held within a two-hour radius of the Twin Cities.
Ice cream & lunch
Some food on the go is available through businesses that have storefronts. Case in point is La La Homemade Ice Cream & Luncheonette located in Uptown.
Since 1993, Jennifer Lisburg has been churning delicious ice creams made from local ingredients as much as possible. Her team makes traditional flavors like strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate as well as signature flavors such as Charlotte’s Web and Raspberry Honey.
For events, La La takes an ice cream cart or mobile dipping station on the road. The cart holds up to 600 servings of prepackaged ice cream cups and novelties like ice cream sandwiches and slices of ice cream cake. “It’s user-friendly and doesn’t need to be staffed if someone at the event can take charge,” Lisburg says.
Corporate clients tend to book the La La cart but lean toward scooped ice cream for a large party or festive occasion versus a meeting, she says. “Another item I really like doing is ice cream cakes … typically four very thin layers of cake and three thick layers of ice cream with a finish such as buttercream icing, glaze, or fruit sauce.”
The luncheonette side of the business is a small neighborhood place for enjoying made-from-scratch cookies, ice cream, coffee, sandwiches, soup, and weekly specials, giving La La the ability to deliver lunches for small and medium gatherings.
Attendees will feel like kids again when selecting from several flavors of freshspun, dye-free, organic cotton candy from a Spinning Wylde mobile cart. Planners can choose from more than 75 spicy, savory, and sweet options or request custom flavors.
Spinning Wylde is available to spin at an event or provides small, self-serve packages. While some clients select six to 10 flavors, Spinning Wylde also has a display trunk that can be filled with every flavor available.
“We bring an element of whimsy; watching cotton candy being made is magical as it seems to materialize out of almost nothing,” says owner Tevy Smith, noting that portions are intentionally small and served on colorful paper straws. “We are more whimsical and not the giant pink fluff on a cone.”
However, cones can be fun, especially when they light up like at Walker Art Museum’s annual gala in Minneapolis. Or a cotton candy garnish on a cocktail is a perfect conversation starter at a business grand opening or any event.
Previously located in Keg and Case West 7th Market food hall and then a small storefront across the street, Spinning Wylde is opening a much larger location with an expanded menu in St. Paul’s Union Depot this summer. “With 3,500 square feet, we will have a few small rooms for parties and beautiful, 20-foot ceilings,” she says. “Union Depot has many events a year, and we’ll be offering cart catering there, too.”
Stylish boxed platters
Minneapolis caterer Chowgirls has taken its most popular platters and created a By-the-Box menu that includes charcuterie, roasted vegetables, fancy fruits, crudité, Mediterranean fare, and cookies. Displayed in compostable balsa wood and rice paper boxes, they’re bursting with off-the-charts presentation and rich flavors courtesy of organic and regional ingredients.
For example, the regional cheese box features various cheeses alongside Chowgirls’ roasted carrot pesto, cherry-rosemary marmalade, salt and butter pecans, rosemary-maple cashews, pickled vegetables, mixed olives, homemade focaccia bread, lavash crackers, and more. To satisfy sweet hankerings, cookie boxes showcase pastry chef Andrea Field’s chocolate crinkles, chocolate dulce de leche sandwich cookies, turmeric chai butter cookies, and fruit and nut shortbread.
“While we’ve been in the catering business for 18 years, By-the-Box is our first foray into e-commerce. Clients can now work with Chowgirls on a shorter timeframe, with lower minimums and zero phone tag,” says Amy Lynn Brown, who cofounded Chowgirls with Heidi Andermack. “Our packages are wildly creative, bright, giftable and filled with new and classic favorites from our menu.”
She adds, “We’ll be expanding our offerings soon with healthful meal options that go well beyond your typical box lunch—perfect for meetings, both in-person and remote.”