If you’re looking for a delicious & trustworthy caterer for your wedding or event, look no further than Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering! If you’re like me, you might be familiar with their barbecue sauce – but they offer so much more than just condiments. I was able to chat with some of the faces behind the brand to get an inside look at what it’s like to cater with Sweet Baby Ray’s.
Q&A with Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering:
Where are your ingredients from?
We pride ourselves on the fact that our food is made from scratch with fresh ingredients. When possible, our inspired recipes feature local and organic ingredients, for example, our Texas Sausage is produced right in Elburn, Illinois, at Reams Meat Market, using a recipe that has been perfected over years of national barbecue competitions. Some of our fresh produce and microgreens are grown by local farmers, several of whom are even SBR Events Group team members! Our philosophy is to support and trust in those who are passionate about mastering their craft.
What areas does Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering serve?
SBR Events Group is proud to provide catering services to not only Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, but also parts of Wisconsin and Indiana. We recommend our clients contact us for their events once they have officially booked a date and venue in advance since we book up fast! Typically, we would start the planning process 6-12 months out from weddings and larger functions, and as little as one week out from smaller functions. But, if you are looking to serve delicious food without service staff on site, we are happy to offer pick-up and delivery options in addition to our full-service events.
Do you have any favorite dishes on your menu?
It’s difficult to narrow down a list of favorites from our expansive menus, but there are several dishes that have become signature for each brand over the years. Our Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Fondue station is a fun, interactive way for guests to experience an array of barbecue meats, sauces, and accompaniments. On the lighter side, our True Bistro salad is by far our most popular salad, featuring our house made balsamic vinaigrette, which we also sell by the bottle!
Can you elaborate on the relationship between True Cuisine & Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering?
As the years go on, there has been continued success for True Cuisine & Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering. From making their mark in the corporate sector, to executing record numbers of weddings, the two brands under SBR Events Group shine together. One of the perks of booking with SBR Events Group is that our team is fully versed in the offerings of both brands, which makes it seamless for our clients to choose menu options from each! For example, if you love barbecue, but want to elevate the presentation for a more formal event, or if you want to serve some classic, seasonally inspired food in a more casual, approachable way, we can merge elements of True Cuisine and Sweet Baby Ray’s to provide a menu sure to please every palette.
Why was Sweet Baby Ray’s founded?
In Chicago in 1982, Dave Raymond created Sweet Baby Ray’s barbeque sauce with his older brother, Chef Larry Raymond. The two perfected the recipe and decided to name it after Dave’s childhood nickname that he received playing basketball on the West Side. Larry and Dave began their mission of getting a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce in every home they could. Utilizing their family members and friends, they went out to grocery stores across the Chicagoland area, participated in culinary competition across the country, and went door-to-door in their own neighborhoods. Eventually, the sauce grew big enough to attract the attention of a large food distributor and in 2001, a sale to Ken’s Foods was finalized. Since then, the sauce has expanded greatly to include new variations, but the original still proves “The Sauce is Boss,” outselling the next seven U.S. sauce brands combined!
Since exiting the sauce business, Dave has redirected his focus onto restaurants and catering. In 2005, “The Home of Sweet Baby Ray” in Wood Dale first opened its doors. Two years later in 2007, a second Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue was opened. The Wood Dale location is particularly close to Dave’s heart, as it is managed by his nephew, Duce, and wife, Cathy. It also happens to be the first home of the Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering business, which began in 2008.
From its humble beginning in the restaurant, the catering company widely expanded its capabilities and presence in the industry when Dave purchased True Cuisine from a classically French trained chef and business owner named Jean True in 2010. The purchase of True Cuisine also included the purchase of Sweet Baby Ray’s current catering headquarters. Eventually, in 2017, changing the name to SBR Events Group, encompassing the two brands.
Finally, what advice do you have for clients who are just starting to plan their wedding or event?
One of the most important things to remember when you begin the planning process is to trust the process and remain calm. After all, parties are meant to be fun and just because you may be the one planning the party, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy yourself all the same! No matter how detailed and specific you are in your planning, you can expect that there will be changes along the way or challenges that arise, but, with the right team in place, it will all work out! There is always a solution, as long as you are willing to think creatively!
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