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Brancato’s Catering: Reinventing Catering in Kansas City for 50 Years

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Since its inception in 1969, Brancato’s Catering has been going “beyond the menu” for their catering clients. The longtime local catering company takes a unique approach to events and the needs of their clients. It’s not just about food; it’s providing clients with a seamless experience filled with as many options as their hearts desire. At its core, Brancato’s aims to please and relishes in customizing celebrations. 

“What we do is so much more than simply setting food in front of a guest,” said Andrew Brancato, president and third-generation leader of Brancato’s Catering. “It is a privilege and an honor to serve our clients every single day. That’s how we all feel when we come to work. We look at each of our events as if they are a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, from weddings to galas to corporate events and social events, even a boxed lunch. We work hard to understand our clients’ budgets and ensure that we not only meet but exceed their expectations.”

Longtime Kansas Citians may fondly remember a popular local amusement park called Fairyland Park that delighted families from the 1920s through the 1970s. In 1969, Robinson’s Catering, located on the grounds of the amusement park, was up for sale. Andrew’s grandfather saw an opportunity to expand the business in a new industry ripe for growth. That’s when Brancato’s Catering was born, built on a solid foundation of hard work, grassroots community involvement and strong work ethic. With the addition of his sons Mario and Steve, the trio grew Brancato’s Catering and founded an industry-leading party rental operation, which was sold in 2016.

They have since left the amusement park and rental business. Now owned by Andrew Brancato and his father, Mario Brancato, Brancato’s Catering has evolved into an innovative, cutting-edge catering company. Andrew and Mario have become restaurateurs, opening Harvey’s at Union Station in 2011 and The Brass Onion in 2018. All three operations have won awards for outstanding food, menu design, service and décor. 

Have you ever seen a salad that’s almost too beautiful to eat? This roasted red and golden beet salad comes garnished with a hand-made lattice cracker topping and sits on a bed of herb chevre and green goddess greens accented with citrusy Yuzu pearls. Arguably, the most impressive part of the salad was the picture-perfect presentation on each plate at the First Hand Foundation Masquerade Ball, held at Historic Union Station Kansas City. This custom salad was the creation of Jennifer Fuentes Karl, vice president of development at Brancato’s Catering. “Part of my job is to create and develop new menus and concepts, but I definitely don’t do this alone!” said Fuentes Karl. “We have an amazing culinary team that turns concepts into reality. We all work together to make sure each element is perfect in both taste, presentation and execution.” 

Alongside Fuentes Karl, Brancato’s executive chef Jason Curcio has experience producing menus for the masses, From small intimate business lunches to large multi-course formal galas for more than 1,000 people. From the simple to the extravagant, Brancato’s uses quality products and expertise from its professionally trained culinary team. “Creativity and menu design are what sets us apart. We work hard to wow every one of our guests and make it an experience,” Andrew Brancato said. 

With Brancato’s Catering, the menu complements the table and the overall vision of the event. The events team attends national conferences to ensure they’re up to speed on the latest trends in food and event décor. Continuing education allows them to be the experts for corporate clients, brides and event planners on all things culinary, as well as tablescapes, linens, flatware, china and glassware. Each of these details is critical to the overall look and feel of an event. 

The First Hand Foundation Masquerade Ball, which raises money for children with severe medical needs, had a theme this year of Emerald City, A Utopian place where anything is possible. “We take the theme and cause seriously,” Fuentes Karl said. “When a client gives you a theme, they want their guests to feel it from the moment they walk in. I bring the theme into the menu, cocktails, place settings, even table linens. Having a magical experience helps raise the funds necessary for the charity. It is a pleasure to do our part in making sure that happens.”

Coordinating hundreds of trained staff to serve dinner to 950 people, setting 95 tables and prepping food in off-premise spaces is a specialty of Brancato’s. They understand and pride themselves on the ability to collaborate with other event professionals including some of Kansas City’s top floral designers, audio visual teams, entertainers and others. All vendors working together in sync for event execution becomes the key to success at every Brancato-managed event.

“My father, grandfather, and uncle taught me that hard work pays off, and that motto is instilled throughout the company in all of our employees, some of whom have been here 20-plus years,” Andrew Brancato said. “We really believe in a hands-on approach when it comes to leadership. Even with the First Hand gala, my dad, Mario, was in the kitchen, ensuring we are producing exactly what we promised.”

Written by: Megan Neher