Article by Solana Shellner
As a child, did you ever take a sack lunch on a field trip to the zoo? Or eat out of a lunch box with your favorite Disney character or action hero on the front? Get ready to relive that sense of culinary fun, because St. Louis-based catering gem Gourmet to Go has turned childhood nostalgia into an elegant catering business. But instead of the box containing a bologna sandwich on white bread, it offers a delightful menu tailored to your needs – and your guests’ favorite treats.
If lunch-able delights such as the champagne turkey sandwich, Thai pasta, and carrot cake sound intriguing, you are in for a treat. Gourmet to Go has elevated the sack lunch into a ready-to-go dining experience, and all your guests have to do is open the box and enjoy.
The GTG story
Established in 1983, Gourmet to Go provides ready-to-eat lunches made with high quality foods. Upon opening, the company quickly became a staple in the St. Louis catering world, which intrigued current owner Martha Uhlhorn enough that she purchased the business in 2007.
Today, it remains a popular catering choice in the St. Louis region, as well as parts of Illinois. Kim Loftus, an administrative professional in the St. Louis office of financial services firm Gardner Capital Inc., says Gourmet to Go always exceeds her expectations. “They are reliable, and they take a big load off my mind,” she says of the company’s helpful staff. Gourmet to Go strives to provide the same experience for each of its event clients.
Plenty of choices
Gourmet to Go’s success stems from a desire to make the food portion of any event as effortless as possible for the client. That means its staff provides all food items exquisitely prepped, garnished and ready to be enjoyed. All the meeting client has to do is “remove the cling wrap and put it on the table,” says vice president and general manager Sandy Sims. “We also provide breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, not just boxes.” Buffets include hot and cold menu options, and offerings can be tailored to each meeting client’s needs. “Customers especially enjoy our house-made sauces,” Sims adds. A selection of dessert delicacies awaits your guests as well.
Gourmet to Go gets its bread from Uhlhorn’s La Bonne Bouchee Wholesale Bakery, another thriving business. Sims says there are many gluten-free options customers can request, including salads and sandwich boxes.
Reserve your buffet
According to Uhlhorn and Sims, ordering a buffet meal from Gourmet to Go is simple and fast. The planner just needs to have a minimum of six guests, a date, menu choices, and a credit card. It is best to provide a list of desired foods, and those that must be avoided due to allergies or guest preferences. Once a menu has been chosen, the planner simply calls Gourmet to Go, and a customer service specialist handles the rest. The planner either can pick up the food or have it delivered for a small fee.
Corporate, nonprofit and education events are Gourmet to Go’s bread and butter when it comes to catering. Peggy Frisella, manager of research operations at Washington University School of Medicine, has been using Gourmet to Go for 15 years, and appreciates the personal touch its staff members provide. “When I call in, the intake representatives know me by name and what my order patterns are,” she says. Frisella uses Gourmet to Go for groups of 20 to 30 people involved in surgery education and training labs.
Karla Bakersmith, president and chief executive of health-care uniform provider Scrubs and Beyond, says Uhlhorn’s company did a “fantastic job” providing catering for one of its retail grand opening events. “The food was absolutely delicious, and Gourmet to Go was a pleasure to work with,” Bakersmith says.
The complete package
Gourmet to Go also is able to cater a variety of social events, from bridal showers to events in the park, and even citywide events like art fairs. If your gathering requires staff to set up, serve the food, and break down, Sims says her company works with local firms to provide that service. So even if your event is a sit-down affair, Gourmet to Go has ways to satisfy everyone without any disruption.
Sims says the Gourmet to Go staff is eager and happy to help make your social gathering, grand opening, or corporate luncheon a success. Menus are posted at www.gourmettogo.com, along with photos to make your mouth water – so it’s a snap to find something every guest will savor.
Gourmet to Go
Sandy Sims, vice president and general manager
1865 Craig Road
St. Louis MO 63146