Novelty Bar and Food Station Ideas
For some events, the best meal is a gorgeous formal dinner with four courses, servers, and white linen table cloths. At other parties, guests would rather snack and socialize than be trapped in a seat. Great event planners make casual dining fun and innovative. Think convenience, variety, and novelty!
- Small portions let guests try more than one dish.
- Easy packaging or “grab and go” foods let guests snack between dancing and conversation.
- Novelty sizes and amusing presentation contribute to the overall atmosphere
Novelty foods are fun for guests of every age. If you do it right, kebab treats, shot-sized cakes, and martini glass meals will fit any event. Check out these fun suggestions for snack bars, food stations, and fun meals for any event!
Think old-style movie theatres and baseball games! Rent a popcorn machine and set up a station where guests can re-fill between dances. Include pumps with melted butter and a variety of salt and spices. Give guests sweet options as well! Caramel sauce and brown sugar will intrigue people with a sweet tooth. Even the packaging can be novelty. Set out old fashioned popcorn boxes or customized bags that guests can fill with big scoops to their hearts’ content.
Mashed potato bar
Buffet style mashed potato bars aren’t just novelty; they’re delicious. If you’re looking for snack ideas that are also a meal and not just a treat, set out heated trays of mashed potatoes with spoons so guests can help themselves. Serve different kinds that will remind people of their favorite home-cooked meals; cheese, garlic, or creamy butter mashed potatoes are all simple and delicious. For a little more novelty, look for creative and gourmet recipes. Guests will love flavors like cheddar, bacon, and ranch or chipotle sweet potato!
Sliders and shot glass fries
The convenient size of “slider” burgers makes them the perfect novelty snack. At some events, guests are too busy socializing to sit down and eat a big burger with two hands. Give them their favorite meal by shrinking it down to a snack size. Don’t forget the fries! Set out plates with a couple of sliders and a shot glass full of French fries, some with ketchup in the bottom for dipping.
Mini donuts and donut hole skewers
Hire a food truck that specializes in sugar donuts or pick up donut holes from your client’s favorite bakery. No one makes mini sugar donuts better than the specialty food trucks you see at the fair. If your clients prefer the boutique bakery down the street, set up a “donut kebab” station. Stack trays with differently flavored donut holes. Give guests pointed skewers (biodegradable wooden ones are environmentally friendly) and let them build their own donut hole kebabs!
Cakes are a central part of the experience at many events. It takes time and space, however, to present the cake, perhaps blow out the candles, and cut everyone a piece. It’s also uncommon to serve more than one cake, so guests only have one choice. Instead of a whole cake, try serving tasters of different desserts in shot glasses. Let guests choose between cherry cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake, and lemon meringue pie in small enough portions that they can try all three if they want to! Set out mini spoons so guests can swing by for a “shot” of cake whenever they please.
Chocolate fondue with skewers
Fondue is always delicious, but chocolate fondue is a particular treat. You can take it a step further by renting a chocolate fountain! Set out milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and maybe a small pot of white chocolate so guests can take their pick. Next, give people an array of delicious treats to dip in the chocolate or drizzle under the fountain. Strawberries and bananas are popular and kebab sticks make for easy dipping. For kids (and adults too), take sweetness to the next level with marshmallow kebabs and a sprinkle station. Before the chocolate dries, guests can sprinkle however they like.
Ice creams and sundaes
An ice cream truck will get kids excited and adults nostalgic. Guests will love having different bars and cones to choose from, especially if the selection is unique or gourmet. If self-serve meals and buffets are more your clients style, set up a make-your-own-sundae station! Think vanilla and chocolate soft serve machines, pumps of chocolate, caramel, and strawberry sauce, and all kinds of sprinkles and candy toppings. Guests can make their sundaes simple and classic or decked out and extravagant.
Pro tip: Though nuts are a popular ice cream topper, be careful of peanut allergies!
Bite sized milk and cookies
Milk and cookies is the kind of snack that adults and kids will both enjoy. After dinner, set out small glasses of milk with a little chocolate chip cookie balanced on top of each. Novelty servings let them eat on the go, so kids won’t have to sit down and use both hands for their milk. If you want to switch it up, set out different cookie flavors!
Martini glass salads
Novelty snacks can be healthy too! Salads are a great appetizer and vegetarian option. Buffet style salads are nothing new, but you can make it easier on your guests than the old “build-it-yourself with tongs.” Set out a variety of salads (think Greek, ceasar, and garden) pre-made in plastic martini glasses. Let guests drizzle their own dressing from a ladle or gravy boat so they can have their choice, but also so the salad doesn’t get soggy! Guests can grab a martini glass and eat while they socialize.
Special events are a great time for treats, but some clients really want to satisfy their sweet tooth. For birthday parties, kids’ parties, weddings and themed events, nothing beats a candy bar. Choose trendy new sweets, popular favorites, and maybe even some vintage candies that younger guests have never tried. Customize bags and place jars with scoops or tongs along a table. Guests can “pick and mix” the sweets they’d like, just like in a candy store.
The key to great novelty snacks is to make them fun and easy. Just about any food can be transformed into a novelty for fun events. Keep track of what’s trendy, research novelty food trucks or caterers in your area, or think of your own novelty ideas for your client’s favorite foods. Let the snacks be part of the fun!