North Carolina-Outer Banks

Catering help! Lots of questions!

Ok...I have the venue, I have the date, now I am hunting for a caterer. 
I have contacted two caterers so far, and they were VERY expensive, especially for the type of menu we are looking at....Are all caterers in the outer banks this expensive?

How far out should I book a caterer, and when I go to do tastings, should I make a couple of appointments for different companies?

Does anyone have caterers they can recommend that are reasonably priced and offer great food?  Our wedding is going to be in Manteo, fyi and we want to keep the food under $40 a person (bar service included which will consist of soft drinks, wine, and beer).

Thank you for any help you can offer!

Re: Catering help! Lots of questions!

  • I know that the caterers we looked into were more than $40/person.  We're getting married in the 4x4 area, so we were limited to caterers that would travel there.  We tasted with Red Sky and Argyle's and ended up going with Argyle's.  Her cheapest package is $40/person just for the food.  It's another $20/person for beer and wine.  I think Red Sky was around that same price too, if not a little more.

    Have you tried looking into Ortega'z?  They have the tex-mex food that you're looking for, and I think they're a little more reasonable.  Some of the local BBQ places also do catering, and I know that they're definitely less expensive.

    We booked our caterer a year ahead of time, but I think we were kinda planning way ahead.  We knew our date and venue though, so I figured why not reserve our vendors too.  Then at least you know you can get all of the vendors that you want, and you don't have to worry about them already being booked.  You should definitely do tastings with a couple of different caterers.  Just space the appointments out though, because you definitely get full from all of the food! :)
  • Have you tried Kelly's? They seem very easy to work with and will work with your budget.
  • Hi and welcome! Where are you located in Central PA? We are outside of Harrisburg. $40 a person to include bar service is going to be really tough to find. Kelly's and Ortegaz are both popular options for Manteo. I got married on the Northern part of the island, so I tasted with Red Sky and Coastal Provisions. Coastal Provisions I know will go to Manteo, they do have an option that starts at $30, but that is before tax and gratuity. I'm hoping that $40 per person doesn't include alcohol costs, but rather server costs? I think you can find a bbq place for that cheap, but it'll probably be a pick up/drop off type of option. If you know your venue and date is booked, I'd get caterer out of the way as well! I suggest tasting at several places, or at least contacting as many places as possible and getting pricing. Now is the perfect time to contact them as well.
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  • I just went through this...caterers are very expensive. My FI and I had tastings at Argyles,  Ocean Boulevard, Kelly's and Coastal Provisions.
    Argyles- delicious, but really expensive. Plus, their beer/wine/soda package is $20/person!! She offers to make your cake for free though, so that's a plus.
    Ocean Boulevard- ehhh. We were there to taste their BBQ and fish tacos and it was obviously days old and just blah. A lot of people rave about them, so I think they just had an off day or something. Their prices were fair, but I can't give you an exact price per person because I didn't get that far.
    Kelly's- Everyone loves this place, but my FI and I just weren't impressed with Maryann, she seemed kind of mean and wouldn't give us an actual price until after the wedding? Seemed weird to me, but the food is good, and they include everything (linens, utensils, plates, etc)
    Coastal Provisions- Loved the food, loved the price, loved the people. They have great BBQ for $11.99 per person and only $11/person for beer/wine/soda...that's definitely the cheapest we found. After everything is said and done (apps, extra sides, etc), we'll be paying about $54 a person for food and alcohol, which is a really good deal. We obviously picked them and couldn't be happier!

    Have you tried black pelican? I remember seeing reasonable prices there for a more laid back menu. I also researched High Cotton BBQ- it wasn't expensive and their food is yummy. Feel free to PM me if you need any help! I pretty much researched everyone...:)
  • Speaking to Black Pelican- they won't allow you to have a tasting until after you book with them. They suggest eating at their restaurant, but it's not the same as catering food.
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  • My sister used Kelly's and she enjoyed working with Maryann. Maybe Maryann wasn't understanding something. My Mom said she had to sign a contract that listed the pricing so she wasn't sure how you could hire them without knowing what it cost.
  • We are going with High Cotton BBQ. We are from the PA area, about 30-45 mins from Philly and figure since we'll be in the south, we might as well serve good old, authentic BBQ! I guess it depends on what you want the feel of your wedding to be. We want it laid back and fun! We booked with High Cotton BBQ in August 2012 and our wedding is May 2013. They have been really great to work with. I wasn't sure if they offer hors d'oeuvres so I talked to the catering coordinator at the wedding expo and she said whatever you can think of for hors d'oeuvres they can do for you. So, I'm really happy about that. The price for food with full service catering is about $20-25/person depending on what you want. Set-up and delivery is even cheaper, about $10-17/person. I've heard they bring tons of food and that you will have lots of leftovers, so that's a plus! I've heard good things about Currituck BBQ too but don't know how their prices are, but I would think they're comparable.

    Good luck!
  • jendem8jendem8 member
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited February 2013
    We use Kelly's and thought they were very reasonable for what we were asking (we had 4 entrees, several sides, at least 4 appetizers, bartending, etc.) - plus, I didn't need to rent anything since that's all included.  I actually really liked Maryann because she is extremely professional (and after dealing with some not-so-professional vendors, I wanted the catering to be detailed and well executed - she did not disappoint).  She might come off cold though because she's very direct, but at the first meeting (which was not a tasting) she was very personable with us and brought us coffee and told us stories about friends around the island.  We also definitely had a total cost given to us with the contract 

    We also met and had tastings with Argyles and Ortegaz.  Ortegaz was similarly priced to Kelly's and Argyles was more.  I wasn't a big fan of the food at Ortegaz though, and Argyles was just a disaster to deal with.    For more inexpensive, your options are barbecue or looking at places on the mainland (I don't know of any though).  Adjustments to the menu can also have a big impact (i.e. if you want fried food and you're not at a restaurant, then the caterer has to bring a frier with them - /> more $).

    I would honestly say too that I don't think the catering is as expensive in the OBX as it is other places.  My friend paid a lot more in Pittsburgh for subpar food, and most places around here seem to be much more expensive than what I found in the OBX.  It's unfortunately just a very expensive part of the wedding since you have so many people doing the work.
    image June 22, 2012
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_north-carolina-outer-banks_catering-help-lots-of-questions?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:598Discussion:9e564df5-77d0-427b-87a3-7339ba1ced50Post:de1a284d-ecc4-4517-b5af-a35a8275d15c">Re: Catering help! Lots of questions!</a>:
    [QUOTE]My sister used Kelly's and she enjoyed working with Maryann. Maybe Maryann wasn't understanding something. My Mom said she had to sign a contract that listed the pricing so she wasn't sure how you could hire them without knowing what it cost.
    Posted by Jennyandscott14[/QUOTE]

    <div>
    </div><div>I know, that's what I thought it was so weird. She just kept giving us a "roundabout price" which I was not comfortable with. I wanted to know exactly how much it would be per person and she didn't offer that. Food was good though</div>
  • If you want a cheap caterer, below $40/person, BBQ is the way to go!  We are actually bringing a place in from Suffolk, VA that my fiance and I are huge fans of.  We are paying about $2300 for full service for them (100 guests).  High Cotton was another place that we received a quote from (about $3100 w/ apps), but couldn't bring ourselves to not go with our favorite!  It can be done, you just have hunt for it =)
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_north-carolina-outer-banks_catering-help-lots-of-questions?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:598Discussion:9e564df5-77d0-427b-87a3-7339ba1ced50Post:968486cb-64be-4e74-a8b5-2a65ea731488">Re: Catering help! Lots of questions!</a>:
    [QUOTE]If you want a cheap caterer, below $40/person, BBQ is the way to go!  We are actually bringing a place in from Suffolk, VA that my fiance and I are huge fans of.  We are paying about $2300 for full service for them (100 guests).  High Cotton was another place that we received a quote from (about $3100 w/ apps), but couldn't bring ourselves to not go with our favorite!  It can be done, you just have hunt for it =)
    Posted by catyburs[/QUOTE]

    <div>We're plan to have BBQ at our July 2013 wedding and are looking into one of the OBX BBQ places but as we live close to Suffolk I would love to know who you plan to use? A friend of mine has a favorite BBQ place in that area too but I can't remember the name.</div><div>
    </div><div>Thanks!</div>
  • ACJD714, I private messaged you!
  •  I guess I'm lucky that I am just having my family and 2 friends come up for the wedding. We are all staying in the house where the wedding and reception is, so I am just doing meat, cheese, fruit trays and crackers/dips etc. I will probably just order from Harris Teeter.
  • We are also planning to have a BBQ for our September 2014 wedding and would love to know more about the Suffolk place you used for your wedding. Thanks!!
  • We are using Bubba-N-Franks!  My fiance is in love with their brisket and their chopped BBQ is amazing, so it was just natural that we get them to cater our special day.  


    They are actually in Carrollton, but it's close enough to Suffolk that that's what town I associate it with.  Let me know if you all need anymore info! =)
  • Have you tried black pelican? I remember seeing reasonable prices there for a more laid back menu. I also researched High Cotton BBQ- it wasn't expensive and their food is yummy. Feel free to PM me if you need any help! I pretty much researched everyone...:)

    We used Black Pelican and they are VERY pricy. The food was delicious and everyone loved it though.  I am sure if you gave them your budget though, they would work with you.  Erika is amazing and was wonderful to work with [email protected].  We had a buffet of 3 entrees (two action stations) 2 sides, cookies/brownies, 3 apps and one antipasti station.  We came out at a little over $100 per person.  Our venue (108 Budleigh) allowed us to bring our own alcohol.  We didn't because it was more of a pain but that would have saved us some money.  Only complaint about BP was that we ran out of vodka before dinner.  We told them that we didn't think it was going to be enough, but they assured us it would be.  They told us they would have extra on the truck in case we ran out.  They didn't have any on their truck, but thankfully our planner (Beth Pallett) dealt with it and we didn't have to.  
    You do have to book with them before you have a tasting.  We ate at the restaurant and loved it, so we decided to go with them.  I wouldn't have changed anything.  
    We also met with Maryann from Kelly's and were not impressed.  The food was not good when we ate there for dinner (although the sweet potato biscuits were out of this world).  The plates and glasses that she had set out for us were all water stained and looked awful.  That is the other downfall of Black Pelican is that they don't provide linens or tableware.  That adds a lot to the cost.  Keep that in mind. 


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