Article By Julia M. Johnson
It may sound cliché to say that an event venue is a “one-stop shop” for all the services and equipment you need to stage a gathering. But that is actually, uniquely the case with Andre’s Banquet Facilities and Catering in St. Louis. Andre’s is a portfolio of meeting venues that really do provide top-down services, from in-house food and beverage to formalwear, linens, tables and chairs, music, invitations, audio-visual, full-service off-site catering, and more… even the limousine or shuttle your guests rode in on.
There’s no need to contact bakeries, florists, rental companies, or other outside providers, then try to schedule and orchestrate their varied services into a unified whole. When you book a gathering with Andre’s, you simply tell a dedicated event representative everything you need, and the pieces fall into place while you tend to other business.
Andre’s Banquet Facilities host a number of weddings throughout the year, but the company also loves working with businesses and organizations to pull off their most innovative meetings and events. When you need spacious, flexible rooms for a large group, or creative custom meals delivered off-site, Andre’s is at the ready. The company has several locations in the St. Louis region, and its catering division serves a wide area as well.
The family’s business
Andre’s original south St. Louis County location was opened in 1980 by founder John Armengol Sr.; his son, John Jr., now serves as president of operations. Greg Bresler is general manager. Banquet centers are located in south St. Louis County, Fenton, Eureka, and Sunset Hills; the company also serves a couple of other satellite locations in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The South County location is 15,000 square feet; the others range between 4,500 and 8,000 square feet. The facilities are so versatile, they can be tailored to casual get-togethers or very formal affairs.
“We can create any type of meal or gathering at Andre’s,” Bresler says. “Groups can choose one of our locations, or take advantage of our off-site catering for all kinds of events. We can host large groups on-site, or cater at locations from museums to back yards.” Bresler cites examples such as an 800-guest staff holiday party it caters for First State Community Bank in Farmington; and a 550-person dinner auction it is catering this year for St. John Vianney High School in St. Louis.
“We provide food, servers, whatever the meal needs,” he says. “The bank event alone is a 50-employee job. And at the Vianney dinner, we’ll have some of the students specially trained to work as servers. We love getting our clients involved like that. Especially for fund-raising events, it really gets donors in the door for them.”
Bresler says the company stays busy with weekend weddings, receptions and parties, but also feels strongly about welcoming corporate and nonprofit event business during the week. “We have hosted companies, chambers of commerce, churches, associations and a number of other nonprofits,” he says.
Atmosphere and cuisine
Armengol Jr. says that because of its St. Louis roots, Andre’s menu has a bit of an Italian slant to it, but there are no limits on types of dishes or meals his kitchens can craft. “Our chefs are cross-trained in the art of different cuisines,” he says. “We can create meals that are Kosher, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or appropriate for guests with allergies. We can do whatever is needed, whether it’s sauces made without flour, or specially made desserts, or other items.”
Themed meals and parties are an Andre’s specialty, Bresler says. The banquet centers offer a variety of chair coverings, linens, LED lighting and other colorful touches to match any client’s decorating desires.
Andre’s facilities feature PA systems, projectors, podiums, microphones, even different types of tables for a range of configurations. The company owns all its equipment, housed in 5,000 square feet of storage – so setup is a breeze. And if there’s an out-of-the-ordinary equipment or supply need, staff members can arrange for that as well.
Partners in planning
Andre’s goes out of its way to make sure each client can choose the most fitting venue, menu, and services for an event, according to Armengol. Planners can request a round of visits to all Andre’s locations in one day if they choose. “We also can schedule for you what we call ‘the circuit,’” Armengol says. “You can take a tour of our suppliers, all within a few miles of each other, including the bakery, florist, printer and more.”
The company even has relationships with three area Holiday Inns, which are served by its shuttle buses. “Our shuttles can take your guests back and forth between the banquet centers and hotels, and you can request discounted hotel room rates when you mention your event is with Andre’s,” Armengol says.
Andre’s owns large party buses that feature restrooms and piped music, and the company also offers shuttles, executive SUVs and limos to groups needing extra transportation. Also ready and waiting on wheels are its nine off-premise catering vans, which deliver delicacies within a 1.5-hour radius.
What clients say
Debbi Oberle, assistant vice president at First Community State Bank, says the large staff dinner Andre’s caters for her office is always a tasteful success. “Greg and John really have gotten to know what our employees like in terms of food,” she says. “But we also like to try new things, so we have them come up with ideas for us, and they provide a ‘taste testing’ beforehand. All we have to do is say, ‘Could you do this dish a little differently,’ or ‘Our employees would prefer a different sauce,’ and they’ll take care of it. They’re very conscientious. They have our event down to a science.”
Jeannie Braun, executive director of the Fenton Area Chamber of Commerce, often uses Andre’s South County and West banquet centers for her office’s gatherings. “The largest event we’ve had at Andre’s is our spring dinner auction with 340 attendees,” she says. “We use both sides of the South County building for this. We set up our sit-down dinner on one side, and our auction items, games and activities on the other. Guests can move back and forth all evening.”
At the Andre’s West location in Fenton, Braun hosts 140-person member luncheons every other month. “We have speakers come in, and the space is perfect for our needs,” she says. “It’s getting to be the only place in Fenton that is large enough for our group. I wish we could hold our lunches there every month.”
Braun says the seamless nature of Andre’s services is what impresses her most. “Whatever we need, Greg and John make it happen,” she says. “When we plan events at Andre’s, we know we can leave our worries at home.”
Andre’s Banquet Facilities and Catering – Home Office
4254 Telegraph Rd.
St. Louis MO 63129
Visit the website to view all of Andre’s facilities and their offerings.