Spotlight on 3 Local Caterers
If you’re planning a meeting or event in Lubbock, one of the best ways to go local and give the event some Texas flair is to hire local caterers that specialize in West Texas favorites like barbecue or Tex-Mex. Some local caterers go a step further—offering an event setting that feels uniquely Lubbock and complements their culinary menus. Here’s a look at three local caterers in Lubbock to consider for your next meeting or event.
Cagle Steaks is a combination restaurant, caterer and event facility celebrating 20 years in Lubbock. “We’re a locally family-owned business, which gives us a little flexibility,” says owner John Cagle, who attended Texas Tech University and is happy to call Lubbock home. “We have a definite West Texas flair.”
Just west of town, Cagle Steaks is located on a ranch property that has six catering buildings in a variety of sizes for hosting special events for groups ranging from 30 to 400 in a single space. That means the ranch can host an event of about 2,000 people total. Cagle says he hosts a lot of weddings, as well as company meetings, reunions and special events. He also caters events at other facilities in town and throughout West Texas, including a recent event at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center for 1,800 people.
The specialty at Cagle Steaks is—you guessed it—steak; notably a mesquite-cooked, aged rib-eye. The catering menu also features a full line of barbecue options including chicken and various items for kids. “Over the years we’ve developed a slogan: ‘We’re the way West Texas should be,’” says Cagle. “People enjoy the property out here—its wide open spaces and neat sunsets. It gives you a flavor for what this area of the country is all about.”
Cagle says he customizes the food for most events. “A lot of groups come to us and say, ‘Make a suggestion.’ We try not to ever treat any group like another. It’s a heck of a lot different working with a mom worried about a rehearsal dinner compared to an insurance group doing an annual meeting. We try to be sensitive to that,” he says.
HX Chuckwagon Catering
Here’s something you don’t normally see at a meeting or event: food being served from a chuckwagon. “We can provide anything a normal caterer can,” says Monica Hightower, who, together with her husband, runs HX Chuckagon Catering. “What we provide that’s different is the atmosphere. You can’t get a chuckwagon meal any day of the week that you decide.”
She’s right about that. Here’s how chuckwagon catering works. Hightower’s team brings its chuckwagon to an event location. It is an authentic wagon built in the 1890s. History tip: Chuckwagons are wagons outfitted as rolling kitchens that were initially created to go out on cattle drives with cowboys to help feed them while driving cattle to market. HX Chuckwagon Catering’s wagon is set up with all the antiques and accouterments to cook for a group of people at an event. “We cook with wood fires, and the most popular option is the chicken-fried steak meal with mashed potatoes, cowboy beans, some type of dessert and homemade bread,” Hightower says.
She has cooked for groups as large as 600, and she’s often asked to come on-site at Lubbock venues like the National Ranching Heritage Center, the Bayer Museum of Agriculture and the American Wind Power Center. “We have a lot of local groups we work with but also conferences coming in for a one-time meeting in Lubbock,” she says.
Another fun thing you get with chuckwagon catering is the chance to learn a thing or two about West Texas history. “We get a lot of questions from people not familiar with chuckwagons or the chuckwagon era, and sometimes we’ll give formal presentations,” Hightower adds.
The experience is authentic. The wagon Hightower uses was originally her great uncle’s wagon. “We wanted it because it was a family heirloom. This did not start out as an intentional catering activity. It was more of a sentimental and historic value. But it’s grown from that,” she says. “This is something that we think is important and gives people exposure to the history of the chuckwagon, the American cowboy and the American West. That’s why we do it.”
Seasoned With Love
Chef Carlos Rangel has been a chef in Lubbock for a long time. He once owned his own restaurant, and he has been a leading figure in the Lubbock culinary scene for many years. Rangel is now the executive chef at Seasoned With Love, a full-service catering company where proceeds provide funding for The Bridge of Lubbock, a local nonprofit that helps at-risk youth with programs and services. The other unique thing about Seasoned with Love? “Everything is made from scratch,” says Rangel—and that means everything, including salad dressings and croutons.
However, if you want to see a sample event menu, you’re out of luck. “We don’t have a menu,” Rangel admits. “We sit down with the client to talk about budgets, and we try to come up with pretty much exactly what they want at what they can afford.” But since this is West Texas, Rangel says he does a lot of items with a smoky infusion like smoked chicken salad or taco bars with smoked corn guacamole, for example. If it’s a more upscale event, he’ll recommend steak or perhaps an Italian pasta option with Texas flair. Meats are grilled over wood and charcoal—so it’s all very smoky and delicious.
Rangel caters all over town, and he’s often on-site at local wineries including McPherson Cellars or Llano Estacado Winery. Seasoned With Love also caters locally for people in need, which includes feeding the homeless on the holidays at the Salvation Army, and he helps out at five of Lubbock’s senior centers every day of the week.
Having the right food at your event is just one part of the package when it comes to planning and executing an event your attendees won’t soon forget. The Visit Lubbock team can help you organize an event that looks, feels and tastes like West Texas. Check out more information on Visit Lubbock’s meetings spaces and expert services for your next conference, meeting, reunion, group tour or sports event.