Hosting can be tough. So much to coordinate – timing, food, food sensitivities, guests, drinks, and on and on, but the good thing about hosting in the summer is that everything just kind of naturally slows down. When the sun is shining and the weather is sweet people just seem to fall into a more chilled pace allowing magical things like BBQ’s and picnics to happen.
When putting together a last minute fundraising get together for my bestie who recently lost everything to a fire at her home I needed to plan something quickly that would accommodate a sizable group without getting in over my head with a big menu. So I went with a BBQ, but being that I like themes and pretty things I decided to amp up the kitsch and make it into a checkered Burger Bar bonanza! Burgers are delish but every party looks better with a little organization and a focal point so I swapped out my usual dessert table for a table stocked with a variety of burger toppings from your traditional ketchup and mustard to caramalized onions, freshly made guacamole and a veritable ‘choose your own adventure’ in cheese.
Making a burger bar of your own is as simple or as extreme as you want it to be. But I say keep it simple, yet full of variety. Load up on sauces that you can pre-make (or if you’re in a bind, pre-purchase), a variety of cheeses, veggies, and different kinds of buns – I went with whole wheat, traditional white, slim buns, wraps (for those watching their carbs) lettuce wraps (for the gluten sensitive) and naan. Loblaw now sells naan in small bun versions and they’re TDF!. You can also have a variety of burger types from turkey to veggie to your traditional beef or if you’re not into burgers at all you can use the same concept and create a taco, hot dog or sandwich bar.
To minimize dishes and mess I stuffed plastic cups with individual portions of potato salad and coleslaw so guests could grab and go and made mini Mexican Street Corns on sticks that were also easily handheld.
I made a huge vat or red sangria that I replenished through the night which made having a bar unnecessary – sweet!
For decor, I bought mostly everything from the Dollar Store except the red plastic burger baskets and checkered wax paper that I picked up in Chinatown for next to nothing. The extra large mason jars I had laying around from some other crazy idea I had and the paper lanterns are from Creative Bag.
If you’re expecting a crowd and want to wow them with a ‘not your average BBQ’, BBQ, unleash your creative juices with a burger, hot dog, taco, sandwich or all of the above, bar!
Oh! We made Caesar shots too. So cute! DIY coming soon.