The days of bar mitzvah bagel brunches and backyard pizza parties are over. From cupcake trucks to chocolate fountains, bar mitzvahs have gotten bigger and grander in the Baltimore area.
“I have seen crazy things at bar mitzvahs,” says Linwoods restaurant sous-chef Abby Chaconas. “We have had people rent out the entire restaurant, hire their own sushi bars and bring in ice sculptures. At one of our off-premise bar mitzvahs, the family hired Justin Bieber as a performer.”
Offering both on-and off-premise catering services, Linwoods, located in Owings Mills, serves an upscale menu to satisfy even the pickiest of bar mitzvah families. With a huge emphasis on off-premise catering, Linwoods hires specific chefs to work only on outside events.
“We tailor the menu to meet the family’s needs,” says Chaconas. “We have plenty of vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options as well. People have been getting fancier though. People used to order burgers, and now they ask for tenderloin.”
As dietary trends like gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian cuisines become more in vogue, Mt. Washington Tavern event coordinator Mary Booker adjusts the menu as needed to ensure every guest walks away happy.
“We start with the host’s vision and budget and work backward,” says Booker. “We have seen more and more dietary restrictions recently. While some have finger food on the kid’s menus, others have completely vegetarian bar mitzvahs.”
With social media on the rise, Booker comments that some tech savvy hosts are developing their menus based on internet searches.
“Many people bring in pictures of food they see on Pinterest and Instagram and ask us to make it,” says Booker. “Catering has definitely come into the 21st century.”
Searching for something sweet? Look no further than Iced Gems.
The Baltimore-based company specializes in cupcakes, cakes, cookies and desserts. The winner of the 2014 Taste of Three Cities, Iced Gems creates a wide range of mouth-watering treats using organic milk, free-range eggs and sugar. Cupcakes have exploded in popularity in recent years, so it is no surprise that Iced Gems owner and baker Christine Richardson has noticed an increasing number of customers selecting cupcakes as the finale to the bar mitzvah meal. Gluten-free and vegan cupcakes are also available, ensuring that everyone enjoys dessert regardless of dietary restrictions.
“We offer over 210 cupcake flavors, from chocolate-dipped twinkie to strawberry fudge sundae,” says Richardson. “We have noticed that more people choose cupcakes over cakes. Cupcakes are more portable. You can take them home with you instead of waste half a cake.”
Richardson also creates tons of themed cakes that are special ordered for bar mitzvahs.
“Last week, we created an EMT ambulance cake for a bar mitzvah,” she says. “We also offer 15 to 20 celebration cakes. If you dream it, we can bake it.”
Joining the food truck frenzy, Richardson owns two of her own trucks and brings them to bar mitzvah parties. She parks the trucks in front of the ballroom and guests line up outside to receive their desserts.
“Food trucks are insanely popular,” she says. “They bring an extra layer of excitement to the parties.”
Many catering companies offer exclusive dessert packages and tailor-made dessert tables.
“Every menu for every one of our parties is unique,” says Booker of Mount Washington Tavern. “Last week, we had a dessert table filled with caramel apples, s’more sundaes, mixed berry crisps and an assortment of cakes. You never know what you will find.”
Looking for a healthy dessert option? Edible Arrangements has made waves customizing healthy desserts. Since 1999, the company has been creating fruit concoctions that mimic flower bouquets. With representatives in Pikesville, Owings Mills and Randallstown, the nationwide company has become increasingly popular at Baltimore b’nai mitzvot for their delicious, beautiful centerpieces and fruit-filled dessert tables.
“It is a more healthy approach to dessert,” says Edible Arrangements Pikeville store manager Sylvia Buckson.
According to Buckson, “one of our most popular spreads for bar mitzvahs is our fruit festival. The spread includes pineapple daisies, strawberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes and orange slices.”
For those with a sweet tooth, Edible Arrangements also offers creations covered in chocolate and other toppings.
“We dip our fruit in chocolate, sprinkles and other fun toppings,” says Buckson. “Why not make fruit fun?”
Well, there you have it folks. If you dream it, Baltimore caterers will cook it. Bon Appetite! And Mazel Tov!