Throwing a dinner party? We’ve got the scoop on five new local businesses that’ll help you wow any crowd — without stepping outside your front door.
Winter is finally behind us, and there’s no better cause for celebration than kissing the Polar Vortex goodbye. But who wants to worry about the details of hosting a dinner party when it’s finally warming up outside? Luckily, there’s help if you know where to look — these new local services make it easy to delegate everything from the décor to the drinks.
1. What you need: Beautiful, memorable plates
Find them at: Plate, a vintage china rental biz
Why we love it: Antiquing fiends Spellman and Burrows have collected thousands of pieces of mismatched vintage tableware, including plates, saucers, teapots and olive trays (previously rented by Grant Achatz’s Next Restaurant) — and they’re letting you borrow them. Customize colors, styles and even eras for up to 500 guests.
Cost: Dinner plates, $1.50; serving platters, $9-$15; salad plates, $1.25; delivery charges vary.
2. What you need: Gorgeous flowers
Find them at: BloomNation
Why we love it: Co-founded by Booth School of Business grad David Daneshgar, this online service lets you select your dream floral arrangement from local florists like Bukiety, Mudd Fleur and Dilly Lily. Best of all, BloomNation sends you a “BloomSnap” photo of your actual arrangement before it leaves the store to make sure you approve.
Cost: Ranging from $15-$5,000; delivery charges vary.
3. What you need: A delicious (and healthy) dinner
Find it at: Art Smith’s Lyfe Kitchen, which recently opened its first Chicago location (413 N. Clark).
How to order: Visit Lyfekitchen.com, click the catering menu and place your order online or via phone (312-836-LYFE) by 3 p.m. the day before your event. You can pick everything up at the restaurant or opt to have it delivered, set up and picked up later.
Why we love it: Lyfe Kitchen’s three menus (“everything,” vegan and gluten-free) are chock full of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts made with great-tasting, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. But what sets the spot apart are its “hidden” health benefits: Everything it serves contains less than 600 calories and less than 1,000 mg of sodium. For proof that Lyfe Kitchen’s philosophy works, look no further than Smith himself, who recently lost 100 pounds by eating the type of food he makes here.
Cost: Main courses, $49-$100 (depending on size of group); apps, $25-$30 (serves 6-8); no delivery charge, but must meet $150 minimum; more prices online.
4. What you need: Killer cocktails
Find them at: Foxtrot
How to order: Download the Foxtrot app from the iTunes App Store and place your order.
Why we love it: Foxtrot’s highly curated, on-demand selection of items (divided into convenient sections like “snacks and cravings” and “made in Chicago”) takes the guesswork out of crafting cocktails. With a tap of your finger, you can scroll through drink recipes and order everything from whiskey, bourbon and vodka to bitters, cinnamon sticks and maraschino cherries. If your bar starts to run dry during dinner, Foxtrot can get you restocked with delivery in under an hour — and they can even send over post-party supplies, like Hyland’s Migraine Headache Relief, coconut water and Glazed & Infused doughnuts.
Cost: Liquor bottles range from $22-$54; delivery charge, $5 (including tip).
5. What you need: Everything else
Find it at: Chicago’s Girl on the Go
Why we love it: Founder Jancy Walker and her team of personal assistants can take care of any and all final details for your dinner party — everything from finding the perfect place cards to getting you a chic carafe for serving your favorite red wine. Need a playlist? Dying for napkins decorated with skeletons? Want bright pink tablecloths? They’ve got you covered.
Cost: Ranges from $50-$100 per hour, depending on the task.